Shake Tables and Mola: a perfect fit
Earthquakes are a serious concern in some regions of the world, making it vital that structural and civil engineers understand how to build structures able to withstand the forces of the ground motions.
Mola Structural Kits allow you to build physical models that simulate the static behavior of structures. But if you want to shake things a bit, adding a shake table to the study makes a perfect combo for analyzing structural systems under dynamic loads.
Introducing shake tables to classes can also be a way to add an exciting atmosphere as learners go through hands-on demonstrations, student-to-student challenges, or other classroom dynamics you can create.
Below are some examples of Mola Structural Kits combined with shake tables to inspire your classes and project analysis.
Demonstrating resonant frequency with Quanser
Quanser is one of the leading companies creating optimized products for engineering education and research, and they also have shake tables in their product catalog. This article published on their official website uses Mola to demonstrate how mass and stiffness affect resonant frequency.
Assembling a shake table with Lego
Bridge to the Future is a project of University of Exeter that held a workshop where engineering students taught basic structural engineering concepts to students at the University Technical College of South Devon. Among the activities proposed by Professor Maria Rosaria Marsico, who conceived the project, was building a shake table using LEGO.
The students then assembled models with the Mola Kits and demonstrated concepts such as harmonic frequency using the shake table they made themselves.
Another example comes from Australian engineer Mark Arkinstall of Arup. During lockdown due to COVID-19, he designed a LEGO shake table from scratch to have some fun and test with his Mola Structural Kit.
Using a shake table in Mola competitions
In 2019, the Brazilian Association of Engineering and Structural Consulting (ABECE) and Mola partnered with the PET Civil of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) to hold the first edition of a national-level structural competition with Mola aimed at Engineering and Architecture students. This first competition already used shake tables in the finals to test the structures assembled by the students.
Structural competitions are a fantastic way to incorporate a fun and exciting activity into structural learning. Having a shake table to test the structures your students assemble is an excellent way to add an element of chaos and excitement to an already fun activity.
Using shake tables in day-to-day structural learning
SUPSI is the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland and uses both the shake table and the Mola Kits to study dynamic loads in day-to-day lessons in the Bachelor of Civil Engineering.
Inspiring a new generation of engineers with shake tables and Mola
SEAONC is the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California, created to foster a community of engineers and educate the public about the profession.
In 2021, they held three workshops introducing structural fundamentals to high school students as part of SEAONC outreach activities. The Mola Kits were employed as a tool to convey structural learning and as part of a challenge where the students had to compete to build the tallest tower and test their structures on a shake table.
Low-cost creativity and fun
SEAONY is the Structural Engineers Association of New York and has a similar mission to SEAONC we mentioned above.
Using a low-cost mini shake table, SEAONY held a structural competition as part of their outreach program for students. It's a great example of being creative without spending much money.