Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Field Trip in Taiwan (IDEERS Day 1)

I just came back from Taiwan yesterday morning. We were all afraid that the storm would cancel our flight. But thankfully, we landed safely even though landing was a bit scary and the crew couldn't open the plane's door for an hour because of the strong winds.

I flew to Taiwan last Wednesday night with my ICE co-faculty and some ICE students to participate in a contest called IDEERS 2011 (Introducing and Demonstrating Earthquake Engineering Research in Schools). It's contest wherein we model structures and then they test the models in a shaking table (a.k.a. earthquake simulator). The goal is that the structure must fail at a certain ground motion intensity.

The view from my room. Can you spot Taipei 101? :D

This is where we stayed: Chientan Youth Activity Center, a few-minute walk from the MRT station!

Awesome highways

The first day was a field trip and we had student ambassadors to accompany us. Our student ambassadors were sixteen-year old senior high school students. They were very nice, accommodating, bubbly and were good at English so it was fun talking to them!

with student ambassadors Henry and Andrew at Longteng Broken Bridge (photo from Sir Christian)

First stop was the Longteng Broken Bridge. It was damaged by the September 21, 1999 Chichi Earthquake (commonly known in Taiwan as 921 Earthquake).

Longteng Broken Bridge

The bridge is a 100-year old masonry structure. We didn't see any reinforcing bars.

posing silly, LOL, photo from Tsongki

Next stop was the Shihkang Dam, also damaged by the 921 Earthquake.

Shihkang Dam


The damaged part of the dam

Then we went to the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan. Taiwan turned an earthquake rubble into a museum to serve as a memorial for those who died and suffered during the earthquake, to remind the citizens of the said event and perhaps to encourage awareness.

The site of the museum is actually an old school which was harshly damaged by the earthquake.

They retrofitted this classroom so that it won't fall further

A column with poor rebar details

a bent railroad

the school's swimming pool

 The last stop was Taipei 101, a steel structure with 101 floors, the tallest in Taiwan and one of the tallest in the world.

On the way to Taipei 101, we learned that Andrew's dad studied in the Philippines and his dad knows how to speak Filipino (although Andrew doesn't) so Tantan and I taught him how to say "Ang guwapo mo po. Pahinging pera po." so that he could tell it to his dad. Hahaha.

photo from Tsongki

photo from Tsongki

photo from Tsongki

We took the world's fastest elevator to get to the observatory.

The view from the 89th floor

Taipei 101 uses a tuned mass damper in order to reduce vibrations due to wind thereby improving the building occupants' comfort. Can you imagine: what if you work inside a building that constantly vibrates?

The largest tuned mass damper in the world

ICE undergrad students, ICE colleagues and Andrew

And then I looked at my ticket just to find out that it costs NTD 350 to enter the observatory. That's around PhP 500. Phew. But of course, we were covered by the organizers of IDEERS.

Thank you NCREE for that awesome field trip and to our student ambassadors! It was a long day and we only had two hours of sleep (because we arrived at dawn) but it was all worth it! I kind of miss having school field trips haha.

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