University of Alabama and NASA partner on earthquakes

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (CBS 42) – It seems like an unlikely collaboration when it comes to earthquakes: the University of Alabama and NASA. After all, NASA is more commonly associated with the space program, and Alabama isn’t an area notorious for recent, devastating seismic activity.

However, NASA is testing what’s known as disruptive tuned mass technology, or DTM for short, when it comes to mitigating a structure’s response to earthquakes. This technology was originally developed to fix a severe vibration issue on a rocket. However, scientists saw that it could have a broader impact.

The University of Alabama came into play because of it’s recently opened Large Scale Structures Lab, which includes a seismic simulator–or shake table. There isn’t another one like it in the southeast.

DTM is already being used on the dynamic test stand at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntstville. It’s also currently being used in the construction of an apartment building in Brooklyn, New York. However, neither of those buildings have been tested with earthquake force vibraitons.

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