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Construction begins of quake simulator

THE world's largest vibration simulation center began construction at Shanghai's Tongji University yesterday.

The center will be able to test the quake-proof capabilities of the city's skyscrapers and stadiums more accurately, and observe the effects of earthquakes on long structures such as bridges, Metros and tunnels.

"With a larger total bearing ability, we can set up a bigger and more elaborate model of a structure to put on the vibrators," said Li Jianzhong, professor of civil and structural engineering. "It will allow us to see more clearly how a structure is damaged."

The center's four vibrating platforms will be able to carry 200 tons, almost double the capacity of the current largest at the University of Nevada, Reno, in the United States. Simulator at Beijing's China Academy of Building Research and Chongqing's Communications Research and Design Institute can bear up to 70 tons.

The vibrating platforms generate a simulated quake to test a construction's smaller-scale models, Li said. "Construction in cities tends to be increasingly higher, and their structure is becoming more complicated. So it's highly important to test their quake-proof ability before building," Li said.

The center will be in use in 2011.


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