Earthquake simulation

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Shake-table destructive testing of a model non-ductile 6-storey building

Earthquake simulation applies a real or simulated vibrational input to a structure that possesses the essential features of a real seismic event. Earthquake simulations are generally performed to study the effects of earthquakes on man-made engineered structures, or on natural features which may present a hazard during an earthquake.

PrintScreen images of concurrent computer models animation

Dynamic experiments on building and non-building structures may be physical – as with shake-table testing – or virtual (based on computer simulation). In all cases, to verify a structure's expected seismic performance, researchers prefer to deal with so called 'real time-histories' though the last cannot be 'real' for a hypothetical earthquake specified by either a building code or by some particular research requirements.

Shake-table testing[edit]

Studying a building's response to an earthquake is performed by putting a model of the structure on a shake-table that simulates the seismic loading. The earliest such experiments were performed more than a century ago.[1]

Computational approaches[edit]

Another way is to evaluate the earthquake performance analytically. The very first earthquake simulations were performed by statically applying some horizontal inertia forces, based on scaled peak ground accelerations, to a mathematical model of a building.[2] With the further development of computational technologies, static approaches began to give way to dynamic ones.[3]

Traditionally, numerical simulation and physical tests have been uncoupled and performed separately. So-called hybrid testing systems employ rapid, parallel analyses using both physical and computational tests.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Omori, F. (1900). Seismic Experiments on the Fracturing and Overturning of Columns. Publ. Earthquake Invest. Comm. In Foreign Languages, N.4, Tokyo.
  2. ^ Lindeburg, Michael R.; Baradar, Majid (2001). Seismic Design of Building Structures. Professional Publications. ISBN 1-888577-52-5.
  3. ^ Clough, Ray W.; Penzien, Joseph (1993). Dynamics of Structures. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-011394-7.

External links[edit]