Mathematical Modelling

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 situations. (Example)

Engineers use a simple mathematical model called Hooke's 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? (Answer)

from Bristol University