Mines students band together to build earthquake resistant homes

Colorado School of Mines students have teamed up with architecture students from the University of San Francisco in the Gabion Band Ring Beam Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to test and evaluate masonry home designs and their resistance to seismic activity.

In 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, devastating communities and areas in the Kathmandu region. As homes and buildings lay in ruin, the question became, “How can the effects of a natural disaster be minimized in an area like Nepal, where homes are constructed with unreinforced masonry, and where materials are simply inaccessible?” 

The Gabion Band is a constructive technique that uses ring beams of stone wrapped in wire mesh to tie the masonry walls together to become more stable in seismic events. 

Team “Banding Together” is made up of Mines civil engineering seniors Jessie Berndsen, Molly Epstein and Jared Roberts, along with mechanical engineering seniors Caitlin Kaltenbaugh and David Pum. The team constructed models and performed tests on a shaker table throughout the course of one year as part of a project for the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Capstone Design Program. The shaker table is able to simulate earthquakes of various magnitudes, allowing the team to evaluate the construction and integrity of their masonry design for use on Nepalese homes. 

The team will get the opportunity to showcase their findings at the CECS Capstone Senior Design Tradeshow on April 27, 2017, and they hope that the project will continue with future classes of seniors.

Learn more about the team's project in the video below.

UPDATE: After judging for the CECS Capstone Senior Design Tradeshow, the team eceived the Humanitarian Engineering Award for having the project with the highest humanitarian impact.

Contact:
Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 | jdelnero@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu