University of Nevada Moves Shake Tables to Expanded Lab - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

University of Nevada Moves Shake Tables to Expanded Lab

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Photo: Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada Photo: Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada

The University of Nevada took a major step Tuesday in its six-month-long installation of earthquake simulation equipment.

Engineers moved three of the university's four shake tables from the existing Large Scale Structures Lab to the new Earthquake Engineering Lab. When it opens, the combined lab will be the largest large-scale structures earthquake/seismic simulation facility in the United States.

The last major step involved lifting the 27-ton, 14x14-foot table tops into place with 30-ton cranes.

This expansion project, which began in November 2010, allows for a broader range of experiments and they say there is space for an additional fifth shake table. The lab tests new designs and materials for large structures that will eventually make buildings, bridges and highways safer.

"It has been quite an undertaking to move into the new space," Ian Buckle, civil engineering professor and lab director, said. "New hydraulic systems – hoses, pumps, hardlines – have been installed in the basement of the new building and, so far, three of our four shake tables and their controllers have been disassembled, moved, and are now being reassembled."

Other features of the expansion include offices, state-of-the-art control room and an auditorium with telecommunication features to share knowledge with researchers in the NEES consortium around the country as well as researchers around the world.

The expansion project began in November 2010. Equipment installation is near completion and testing and commissioning of the equipment is expected to begin in March. An opening celebration of the expanded facility is planned to take place in early summer.

"This expansion is a major accomplishment that will make us more competitive and productive," Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said. "Our facility will be unique worldwide and, combined with the excellence of our faculty and students, will allow us to make even greater contributions to the seismic safety of our state, the nation and the world."

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