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Research and Experimental Capabilities of NEES@Buffalo and MCEER Featured as Part of UB’s Science Exploration Day

It was a day of engaging exploration as senior high school students from the Western New York region filed onto the University at Buffalo campus to participate in the annual Science Exploration Day, held March 13, 2013. With a vast array of presentations to choose from on an already busy day, the students (40 males and 30 females) ambled from venue to venue exploring topics that ranged from forensic chemistry to paranormal mysteries, and visited specialized laboratories focused on driving simulation to biomedical instrumentation.

This year, Tom Albrechcinski, NEES@Buffalo’s site operations manager, teamed up with MCEER's Sofia Tangalos and Andrew McNeil to offer a presentation on the unique experimental capabilities of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL), which is a key equipment site in the nationwide earthquake engineering collaboratory, the National Science Foundation's George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). The presentation highlighted the research performed by the international community of civil, structural, and environmental engineers and their efforts to develop disaster mitigation solutions to the ever-present threats posed by natural disasters.

In addition, a small-scale demonstration was performed on the portable shake table by UB doctoral candidates Maria Cortes-Delgado and Aikaterini Stefanaki, both of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. The demonstration illustrated the positive effects of applying viscous dampers to a structure. This destination proved to be a favorite of the visiting students and opened their eyes to the potential research they could pursue in college-level engineering education at UB. Following this, Tom Albrechcinski provided a guided tour of the laboratory featuring the two shake tables, large-scale dynamic and static servo-controlled actuators, and a 40-ton capacity crane. And with that, the students were on their way to explore their next topic of the day and, hopefully, a lifetime of pursuit in the fields of mathematics, science, engineering, and medicine.

 

Maria Cortes-Delgado (right) and Aikaterini Stefanaki (left) perform a small scale demonstration.

 

Students watching the demonstration.

 

Tom Albrechcinski gave each group of students a tour of the lab.