Earthquake Engineering Research Centre

What is Earthquake Engineering?

Failure of building in Kobe
Photo: Adam Crewe, KOBE 1995

Earthquake engineering is concerned with the design and construction of all kinds of civil and building engineering systems to withstand earthquake shaking. Earthquake engineers, in the course of their work, are faced with many uncertainties and must use sound engineering judgement to develop safe solutions to challenging problems. They also rely heavily on state-of-the-art techniques in computing, materials science, laboratory testing and field monitoring.

Have a look at the educational material for more information on earthquakes and earthquake engineering.

Earthquake Engineering at the University of Bristol

Research in earthquake engineering at Bristol University started in 1958 when Professor Roy Severn was engaged by the Arch Dams Research Committee of the Institution of Civil Engineers to develop analytical techniques to predict the seismic response of arch dams. Since then, the Bristol Earthquake Engineering Research Group has grown to be the largest of its kind in the UK. In 1988 it formally became the Earthquake Engineering Research Centre (EERC), a University Research Centre. At the same time the University set up an independent company, Bristol Earthquake and Engineering Laboratory Ltd (BEELAB), to manage and market commercial activities in the EERC and the Department. The EERC has these group members.

The Earthquake Engineering Research Centre (EERC)

The Earthquake shaking table
Shaking table in action

From early work on the seismic analysis of concrete dams, the research centre has extended its interests to the wider aspects of structural dynamics. The EERC now carries out research in many fields, including dams, long span bridges, buildings, geotechnics, instrumentation, structural analysis, signal processing and full scale monitoring. An important feature of the EERC's activities is the combination of analytical techniques, laboratory experiments and measurements on real structures. This approach leads to a better understanding of the fundamentals of how structures behave and to more reliable methods of analysis and design.

There is more detailed information on current and past projects as well as images and video of the shaking table in action on the earthquake simulation page.