AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Labs/Apparatus
  Paper Type: Poster
  Title: Designing Earthquakes for a Low-Cost Shake Table*
  Meeting: 2017 Summer Meeting: Cincinnati, Ohio
  Location: N/A
  Time: 5:00PM
  Author: Frederick J. Thomas,, Math Machines
9378320792, fred.thomas@mathmachines.net
  Co-Author(s): Robert A. Chaney, Marta Gruesbeck
  Abstract: A servo-powered shake table can be programmed to produce one-dimension scale versions of either real or user-designed earthquakes. Programmed using Excel-like algebraic functions, the table can replicate earthquakes with varying amplitudes (i.e., original Richter magnitude), different maximum accelerations (the primary basis for building codes), varying frequencies, alternative waveforms and more. In addition to teaching about the differences among displacement, velocity and acceleration, the table can assist in teaching about periodic and non-periodic motions. A sample two-part activity asks students to (1) design and build a structure that can withstand a Richter magnitude 5 earthquake, then (2) design a magnitude 4 earthquake to destroy the structure. Since the Arduino family board incorporates a micro SD card, the system can store and replay thousands of alternative motions. Plans for building the table are provided, along with an executable LabVIEW control program and the necessary sketch for implementation via a ChipKIT WF32 board.
  Footnotes: *Based in part on NSF-ATE Grants No. DUE-0202202 and DUE-1003381
  Presentation: PST2B23-DesigningEarthquakes.pdf

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