Demonstrating building resonance using the simplified BOSS model

All buildings have a natural frequency of oscillation or resonance frequency. While specific building geometries and materials control the resonance of a building, resonance frequency is largely a factor of building height. For example, taller, more flexible, buildings are susceptible to the smaller, low frequency oscillations of distant earthquakes, while shorter and stiffer buildings are more susceptible to the larger, high frequency shaking of nearby earthquakes.  When seismic waves shake the ground beneath a building at its resonance frequency, the structure will begin to sway back and forth and the structural integrity of the building may become compromised. Using the BOSS Model Lite* as a discrepant event demonstration, teachers can engage a wide range of students in thinking about the concepts of seismic waves and the earthquake-engineering of buildings to reduce the human impact of earthquakes.  

*Note: This model is an adaptation of the original BOSS Model (Ireton et al., 1995)


Students will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate and describe the role of building resonance when assessing earthquake hazards for an urban region.

Total Time: 15min
Level: Novice

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