Media Advisory: Earthquake simulations to test masonry buildings common in NYC, nationwide

Researchers stand in front of a masonry building on a shake table at UB.

The research team, in 2023, before testing a similar masonry building. Credit: Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo.

Release Date: June 4, 2024

Andreas Stavridis.

Andreas Stavridis

Michel Bruneau.

Michel Bruneau

Kallol Sett.

Kallol Sett

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Members of the news media are invited to the University at Buffalo North Campus on Friday, June 7, for a series of earthquake tests.

Researchers will use a shake table – a large platform that can simulate earthquakes – to study how brick-and-mortar buildings (also known as a masonry buildings) respond to earthquakes.

When: 11 a.m. on Friday, June 7.

Where: The Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) at Ketter Hall on UB North Campus. Here is a map to Ketter Hall. Media members can park in “Service Vehicle” spots in the adjacent parking lot.

Visuals: The research team expects the building to suffer serious damage, including cracks, falling bricks and, potentially, collapse.

Background: The tests are a follow up to similar work from last year which revealed the strengths and shortcomings of current building codes. Researchers have focused on the weaknesses they identified during those tests, and, over the past year, have used novel design methods to reinforce the building that will be tested Friday.

Significance: There are more than 3.6 million masonry buildings in the Northeast, including 800,000 in New York State. Many are located in the greater New York City area, which in April witnessed its strongest earthquake in more than 100 years. Test results will help engineers, code officials and regulators improve building codes used to ensure that masonry buildings can withstand earthquakes.

Who: The project is led by Andreas Stavridis, PhD, associate professor of structural engineering and director of SEESL. Additional researchers include Michel Bruneau, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of structural engineering, Kallol Sett, PhD, associate professor of structural engineering, a nationwide team of practicing engineers, and a team of undergraduate and graduate students at UB.

Why UB? SEESL is among only very few laboratories worldwide capable of performing such large tests.

Funding: The project is supported with funding from the National Institute for Standards and Technology, with in-kind and labor contributions from industry partners. 

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of Media Relations
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614