It is well established that not only is cold formed steel much lighter and more elastic than traditional materials like concrete and masonry, it also absorbs energy better by dissipating the force of seismic activity.
To test exactly how well CFS structures are capable of withstanding earthquakes and the fires that often follow them, in June 2016 a team of engineers from the University of San Diego in California constructed a six-storey CFS building.
And, they built it on top of the world’s largest outdoor seismic shake table!
Most interestingly, this was the tallest ever CFS structure to undergo tests on a shake table.
The simulation replicated motions from California’s 1994 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake - a devastating event which resulted in a death toll of 57, and more than 8700 injured.
The six-storey layout was designed to replicate a multi family residential structure and was equipped with water heaters and stoves which could potentially combust if moved about too much, and too violently.
You can see first-hand how these react, in the video.
The research also involved the use of drones, an integral element of the footage, and also of the testing methodology. The drones made up part of the project's wider goal of developing better methods to quickly assess damage in buildings and other infrastructure after an earthquake.
This video is a superb real-life demonstration of the phenomenal strength and versatility of cold formed steel. As a company, FRAMECAD recognises the importance of this research, as we alluded to in our recent blog post that describes how and why CFS is a material that can raise the possibilities of saving lives and keeping buildings standing during earthquakes.
Have a watch of the video, to get the closest you can (without being inside the test-building yourself) to experiencing the stunning results and profound safety of CFS.