University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Seismic Team Plans to Shake Things up in San Francisco

Seismic Team's Structure

The university’s first-ever Seismic Design Team, led by undergraduate Meghan Krupka of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, will be traveling to San Francisco for the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition on February 3 to 6. Students Marco Adorno, David Fortin, and Aimee O'Brien make up the rest of the UMass Amherst team. The goal of the competition is to build a structure that is designed to remain stable in a simulated earthquake, and points are also given for cost effectiveness and aesthetics. In addition to the competition, teams participate in oral and poster presentations.

The UMass Amherst team is sponsored by Tighe & Bond, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Woodard & Curran, Wright-Pierce, HyGround Engineering, and Habitat Post & Beam.

In preparation for the upcoming competition, the team tested their structure on the CEE department’s own shake table. The team noted the initial design’s flexibility in the upper stories. To increase the stiffness and reduce deflections, the team decided to add thin, curved members that extend from the tops of the lower exterior columns. (January 2010)