BUFFALO, N.Y. — It takes just seconds for tall buildings to collapse during powerful earthquakes. Knowing precisely what’s happening in those seconds can help engineers design buildings that are less prone to sustaining that kind of damage.
But the nature of collapse is not well understood. It hasn’t been well-studied experimentally because testing full-scale buildings on shake tables is a massive, expensive and risky undertaking.
That’s why researchers at the University at Buffalo and Japan’s Kyoto University teamed up recently to try an innovative “hybrid” approach to testing that may provide a safer, far less expensive way to learn about how and why full-scale buildings collapse.