Skip to main content
Intellect

BYU professor simulates earthquake with 39-ton weight

Brigham Young University civil engineering professor Kyle Rollins is testing the seismic resistance of foundations used in freeway construction with the Statnamic, a 39-ton weight the size of a sport utility vehicle that simulates the immense and sudden force of an earthquake.

The Statnamic uses gas jets to shoot upward in a motion that delivers 800,000 pounds of downward force against a steel pile foundation, the kind used to support bridges and tall buildings. Sensors along the steel pile record its reaction to the Stanamic's force.

"Most Utah construction is done on clay soils, and there is little data on how earthquakes affect it," said Rollins, whose tests near the intersection of Redwood Road and SR-201 are funded by the Utah Department of Transportation. "The research has important implications for future construction projects, including the proposed Legacy Highway."

Rollins is an expert in earthquake simulation and liquefaction, a condition that occurs when an earthquake causes an increase in water pressure, turning once-stable soil into a vat of mud with a fraction of its former strength. He has conducted other earthquake simulations on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay and in Charleston, South Carolina.

Related Articles
data-content-type="article"
January 13, 2021
In studies published over the last year, BYU’s interdisciplinary research group Autism Connect has outlined ways to change these norms by improving the accuracy, timeliness and helpfulness of autism diagnoses.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
December 30, 2020
The most-read BYU News stories of the year include a report on video game research, a gallery of creative costumes, advice about what milk to drink, and the many ways students and faculty have bettered the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
December 16, 2020
New research from Brigham Young University finds college students could be just as at risk for developing skin cancer in the dead of winter as they are in the middle of summer.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=