On the week of April the 4th, San Francisco State University (SFSU) participated in the 2016 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)’s annual Seismic Design Competition. This competition challenges students to design and construct a scaled balsa wood model of a skyscraper with high seismic risks. The models, weighing less than 3 pounds each, are loaded with over 20 pounds of weights and are subjected to three different devastating earthquakes on an earthquake simulator (shake table). The team whose structure has the best design, architecture, and seismic performance is deemed the winner.
Seven students from the School of Engineering at SFSU formed this year’s seismic design team as part of the Civil Engineering capstone design project. The team, Marisa Araujo, Jamie Brownell, Lungyuen Lau, Kathleen Ocampo, and Ryan Schofield, led by the project manager Stephen Pereira Schork and the faculty advisor Prof. Zhaoshuo Jiang, began working on their design at the end of the spring 2015 semester. In the 10 months that followed, the team compared dozens of different designs, performed extensive testing on the materials, and constructed two full size models. The first prototype model was tested to failure on the shake table in the Intelligent Structural Hazards Mitigation Laboratory at SFSU to investigate the realistic structure performance, which allowed the team to refine their numerical models and verify their predictions from the computer analyses. With the knowledge gained from the testing of the first model, the team constructed an improved model to bring to the competition.
This year, 45 teams from around the world signed up for the competition, among which 33, including SFSU, were invited after the first round screen process. With the innovative design incorporating the findings from structural topology optimization and spectrum analysis, SFSU received very encouraging results in this international seismic competition. To be more specific, SFSU scored the 3rd in design proposal, the 6th in seismic performance, and the 9th in the overall final ranking. Of all the U.S. participants, SFSU ranked the 5th; and among the six participating California State Universities, SFSU ranked the 1st. More details can be found on the official website: http://slc.eeri.org/SDC2016.htm . This year’s team is proud of how well their structure performed and is pleased to have elevated the SFSU and the School of Engineering with their outstanding performance.