Masonry structure withstands all but most severe seismic event simulation

Sources: National Concrete Masonry Association, Herndon, Va.; University of California, San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering

A three-story concrete masonry building recently tested on the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) shake table—an apparatus widely acknowledged for research on specimens’ response to seismic loads—exhibited damage only at very high simulated earthquake magnitudes. The structure was designed and constructed to current building code requirements, and subjected to increasing levels of simulated seismic activity, above both design-level earthquakes and maximum considered events.

Based at the UCSD’s Enklekirk Structural Engineering Center, the testing is part of a $1.5 million research project funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, and Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. In addition to observing concrete masonry construction performance during during seismic activity, researchers are developing a displacement-based design method. Additional information can be obtained from NCMA’s Nick Lang, [email protected], or Jason Thompson, [email protected]