The Great ShakeOut Column Test

On Thursday, November 13, as part of the The Great Southern California ShakeOut, the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation at UCLA (nees@UCLA) conducted a laboratory demonstration to illustrate improvements made to design requirements for reinforced concrete structures in the past few decades. The test simulated the effect of an earthquake on two, approximately one-half scale reinforced concrete columns - one representative of 1950's construction, and one for newer codes.

At 10 a.m. Professor John W. Wallace, PI of nees@UCLA, and Bob Nigbor, Co-PI of nees@UCLA gave an overview of the demonstration in Young Hall 2033. Attendees watched the beginning phases of the test via internet in the classroom. At 11 a.m., field trip participants of the Los Angeles International Earthquake Conference visited the Structures Lab to view the demonstration.

The columns tested had identical external dimensions, but different internal steel reinforcement. The reinforcement in one column were designed based on old code requirements, the other with more modern requirements set forth by the American Concrete Institute (ACI). In UCLA's state-of-the-art Structures Laboratory, a cyclic lateral load were applied simultaneously to both specimens. This simulated earthquake demonstrated the increased capacity of the column designed with modern requirements to withstand earthquake loading. A link to an identical test performed for KCET is here:

nees@UCLA, one of fifteen experimental research equipment sites distributed across the world, specializes in field testing and monitoring of structural performance. The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) was created by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve our understanding of earthquakes and their effects. NEES research enables engineers to develop better and more cost-effective ways of mitigating earthquake damage through the innovative use of improved designs, materials, construction techniques, and monitoring tools.