Ancient technique helps researchers build quake-proof house

January 23rd, 2009 - 12:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 23 (IANS) An ancient technique has helped researchers build a low cost quake-proof house, when they combined it with with modern engineering methods. Last December, the half-size model made of earth and bamboo was tested at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) shake table, the only earthquake simulator of its kind in Australia.

The four tests were based on the El Salvador 2001 earthquake which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. The first test was set at 100 percent intensity, the second at 125 percent.

The third and fourth tests represented the aftershocks that occur after the main earthquake hits and these were set at 100 percent intensity. Impressively, the model suffered minor cracks but remained standing.

Peter Hickson of the UTS faculty of engineering and information technology collaborated with the its head of environmental engineering Bijan Samali and final-year engineering students Luke Punzet and Jean-Michel Albert-Thernet in building and testing the model, according to an UTS release.

“If this were an actual building then it could have been safely reoccupied without any repair,” Samali said. “It is an outstanding success because not collapsing and killing or injuring people is enough to claim success.”

Hickson has been given the go-ahead to safely use his construction system anywhere seismic activity is common and a hazard to life.

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