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[Cob] earthquake test # 2Ian Marcuse dtebb at alternatives.com
Tue Sep 21 00:17:13 PDT 2004
Re: Siesmic Test # 2 As some of you may recall, we tested a scale model cob building on a siesmic shake table a few weeks ago at the University of British Columbia. The building received a massive pounding, but did not simulate an earthquake as it was supposed to, due to problems with the hydraulics. Despite the massive pounding, the building received only minor damage. Today, with the hydraulics repaired, we successfully conducted our tests. The model, which was about 6 ft diameter and 5 ft high, easily handled a 7.4 richter quake with only minor cracks. And this was after the previous pounding that certainly compromised the structure for todays testing. This quake simulated a particular quake in California that was particularily destructive to buildings. Finally, the building was given a 2 g force shake, something closer to a 9 richter and at the epicenter. As was expected the building was shaken apart. This would be a very rare quake and no building would easily survive this level of quake. Amazingly, despite such a violent shake, the building remained standing, though large chunks of cob had fallen away from the building. Anyone inside would have survived as the roof remained in place and no large cob fell inward. There was considerable rocking of the building from side to side which points to the importance of tying/keying in the building to the foundation well, although I expect that the failure would then be the mortar in the stone foundation. Another interesting observation was the amount of shearing, probably at horizontal layers that were not tied together so well. Embedding bamboo dowels or something like this throughout the walls would greatly reduce this type of failure. I am not an engineer so we will have to await their report. The engineers however were very impressed by cob's performance and now have some good data and video footage to explore ways to increase cob's strength for those of us in earthquake zones. At some point soon, we will try to get the video of the siesmic test up on the internet. Ian Marcuse Down To Earth Building Bee www.stanleyparkcob.ca www.alternatives.com/cob-building
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