RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Construction on the University of Nevada, Reno’s new Earthquake Engineering Laboratory is complete. The first large-scale, multi-shake-table experiment features a new higher seismic-performing bridge design of pre-cast concrete columns and beams.
The 52-ton, 70-foot-long concrete bridge was designed and pre-cast at the University of Washington in Seattle, and then built atop three 14 by 14 ft., 50-ton-capacity hydraulically driven shake tables at the University of Nevada, Reno. Researchers have developed a new design for the framework of columns and beams that support bridges, called “bents," all intended to improve performance.
The bridge will be shaken in a series of simulated earthquakes, culminating in the large ground motions simulating the deadly and damaging 1995 magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Up until now, the great majority of bridge bents have been made using concrete that is cast in place -- that approach means time is needed for the concrete to gain strength before the next piece can be added. By pre-fabricating the pieces in advance, time can be cut out of the on-site schedule, thereby reducing the need for lengthy construction on site.
The project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation George Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Systems Research Program. For more information about the experiment click HERE