Maths can be used to describe objects and
things that happen in real life, including buildings and earthquakes.
This is called Mathematical Modelling. You may have learnt
how to make formulae (or equations) to describe simple everyday
Engineers use a simple mathematical model
Law. It describes how much materials, e.g. steel wires,
stretch when a tension
force is applied to them. Hooke's Law can be used to find
out how much concrete
and steel beams
in buildings deform
when they are loaded.
More complicated models developed by researchers
can describe how complete buildings, or other structures,
behave during earthquakes. The maths is too complicated to
be done by hand or on a calculator, so computer programs are
written to do it. This means that the behaviour of structures
can be simulated on a computer. (Example)
Q. How can you tell if the model is right?