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Quake Centre and Quake Core outreach programme co-ordinator Brandy Alger (M.S.E.E) has turned her passion for engineering into a series of exciting community initiatives, as part of her role.




“I love heading to new schools throughout the country to encourage the value of science,” says Brandy. “I talk about what engineers do, engineering as a career, and in particular the importance of earthquake engineering.”


Part of the way Brandy generates so much excitement in the field of earthquake engineering is through a series of innovative hands-on workshops, that she herself has created and developed.


A particular favourite with school groups is QuakeCraft that uses a shake table to replicate the movement of earthquakes and their damaging effect on buildings.


“By applying the principles of maths, physics and technology children learn how to build an earthquake resilient structure with pieces of plywood and 3D printer modelled joiners,” says Brandy. “And then promptly attempt to destroy it – that’s the fun bit!”


Groups compete against each other (or online) to see which structure can withstand the increasing intensity of the shake table the longest. How well a structure can hold out from the sheer force of the mimicked earthquake will depend on the integrity of the foundations and the correct use of diagonal cross-beams in the framing.


“It’s cool to tie in learning around physics and engineering principles with design and architecture,” says Brandy. “It really helps to meld all of these different creative and scientific fields together.”



She says it’s especially heartening to see the enthusiasm of groups in the Canterbury region who are still feeling the effects of the rebuild after the devastating 2010-2011 series of earthquakes.


“I think this kind of practical exercise helps to give students solid ideas around what it takes to build more earthquake resilient buildings, by applying some really simple engineering principles.”


Read more (here) about another awesome innovation from Brandy Alger -QuakeScape. A brand new interactive game helping community groups get together to communicate, raise awareness and better understand what it means to be more earthquake prepared in their region.













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