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Building materials for earthquake-prone areasFeatured science projectScience project video


The hypothesis that timber is suitable for use as building materials in earthquake prone areas, is proven to be true. The wood allowed the vibration from the impact to "pass through" and reach the water tray causing waves in the water. This means that less energy from the impact has been actually absorbed by the wood. Conversely, less vibrations were "passed through" by the brick and concrete - this means that they absorbed more energy from the impact and are hence more vulnerable to damage due the impact.

Most of the devastations to buildings and homes that happen during an earthquake can be reduced by using the proper building material, technique and foundations. Using the correct material can minimize the damage and prevent building collapse during earthquakes. Having proper ground foundation with base isolators can also help  buildings to survive an earthquake.

Also consider

Try to repeat the experiment using different materials like steel and reinforced concrete.

The experiment can also be repeated by increasing the weight of the metal ball or adding base isolators under the water tray.


And they all fall down – preventing structural damage in earthquakes -

The best building material for homes: timber, bricks, concrete or stone -

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 2 hours for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found - you can try Home Depot, or other hardware stores
Safety concerns:

Use safety gloves and common sense when handling heavy/hard objects.