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Earthquake engineers scoop international prizes

The University of Auckland

Media Release

07 October 2008



Earthquake engineers scoop international prizes

The Faculty of Engineering has returned victorious from an international earthquake design competition in Taiwan, where student teams compete to construct earthquake-resistant models of buildings.

The University of Auckland postgraduate team finished second out of 21 universities, and won four individual awards for most creative structural design, most creative architectural design, most preferable award as voted by all teams and best presentation at the accompanying conference. The team’s total prize pool came to NZD $1240.

“The postgraduate team had to demonstrate an understanding of energy dissipation and seismic isolation by reinforcing a template two-storey model. The models then had to withstand a simulated earthquake on a shaking table,” says the team’s mentor, Senior Lecturer Quincy Ma. “This was the first time we have sent a postgraduate team as well as an undergraduate team, thanks to generous sponsorship from the Earthquake Commission and the Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand (SESOC). We are absolutely thrilled with the result for this first-time effort.”

The undergraduate team also recorded a respectable sixth placing of 42 teams. They had to construct a three-storey, L-shaped building from scratch using only wood, paper, glue, string and rubber bands, in a 6.5 hour time slot. The model which withstood the largest shaking compared to its weight was declared the winner.

The IDEERS Competition - Introducing and Demonstrating Earthquake Engineering Research in Schools - was held at the Taiwan National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE) on September 25 and 28, 2008.

An unexpected experience for the team was the arrival of typhoon Jangmi, which hit Taiwan immediately after the competition. The team had to bunker down in their hotel and wait for the typhoon to pass.

The postgraduate students were Charlotte Knox, Dmytro Dizhur, Ronald Lumantarna, and Sam Green.




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