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Shake Table

What principles of building construction are important for helping a building survive an earthquake?


With our Electric Shake Table, visitors can construct a building, place it on the shake surface, select an actual historic earthquake from a digital menu and observe how well the building withstands the tremors. A slow-motion video replay of the building during the earthquake is viewable on the screen so that visitors can tell exactly how their test building failed and try again. Visitors will learn about the importance of various building principles as they adjust their buildings to withstand stronger and stronger earthquakes. Using recorded data from recent earthquakes, the table moves in a realistic fashion.

A manual, no electricity version of this exhibit is also available.  The Manual Shake Table exhibit allows guests to use construction sets to create structures on the black shake platform that can be moved in horizontal directions to simulate the motion of an earthquake. Guests choose from two construction sets. They design and build their structure and then grab the handle and shake the table in patterns that mimic earthquakes. While this is happening, visitors are able to see the impact of the motion on their design. Once the structure collapses, guests can rebuild the same structure, attempt to improve the structure’s stability or test a different construction set. 


Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, GA

Hong Kong Science Museum, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK

National Science Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ

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