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Past News Stories: 2007

George Lee Honored by White House

George C. Lee was among 11 people to receive a 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from President George W. Bush in a ceremony at the White House. Read the Full Story

Symposium on Emerging Developments in Multi-Hazard Engineering

MCEER and ASCE’s Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) held the Symposium on Emerging Developments in Multi-Hazard Engineering at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York City on September 18, 2007, with the generous sponsorship of the Steel Institute of New York. As could be expected for such an increasingly important subject, the level of interest and the participation of the architecture and engineering community were strong. Full Story

Team Investigates Highway Damage following Piso Earthquake in Peru

On August 15, 2007, a M.8.0 earthquake occurred off the coast of Peru. According to the USGS, the earthquake killed at least 514 people and injured 1,090, destroying more than 35,500 buildings and damaging 4,200 more. Widespread communications and power outages also occurred. The Pan-American Highway and other main transportation routes suffered heavy damage due to landslides and faulting that resulted from liquefaction of sandy and silty soils near the Pacific Ocean. On September 21-28, 2007, MCEER’s Jerome O’Connor, Senior Program Officer for Transportation Research, and ASCE field investigation team members visited the area to conduct a post-earthquake investigation of damage to the highway system. Our preliminary article includes photos and links to more information.

New Seismic Guide Specification Adopted for LRFD Design of Highway Bridges

At their annual meeting, the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures voted to adopt a new seismic guide specification for LRFD design of highway bridges. The approved two part ballot item updates the current force-based design specification to reflect the use of a 1000 year return period and also presents a newly developed seismic guide specification that uses a displacement based approach. The vote was 47 states Yes, 1 state No, and 0 states abstaining. It was submitted to the general bridge committee by T-3 with unanimous support from T3 member states.

MCEER Expertise Sought Following Minnesota Bridge Collapse

MCEER’s expertise was sought out following July’s devastating collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jerry O’Connor, Senior Program Officer, Transportation Research, who has experience with bridge inspection, offered his perspective to a variety of local and national members of the media. He shared information on bridge safety and explained the most common causes of bridge failure (e.g. scour, steel fatigue, overload, collision...). Several of these factors are being studied as part of MCEER’s highway and bridge research which is expected to result in new, improved methods of bridge design.

Seismic Testing of A Self-Centering Post-Tensioned Steel Frame

A three-story steel frame incorporating innovative Post-Tensioned Energy Dissipating (PTED) connections was seismically tested on a shake table for the first time in the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) at the University at Buffalo (UB) from March 19-23. The PTED steel system, unlike traditional welded steel frames, incorporates high strength post-tensioned bars along with sacrificial yielding elements in each beam-to-column connection and is particularly appealing for hospital buildings from an initial investment stand point. The tests, part of MCEER’s Hospital Project (Thrust Area 2), were conducted by UB Ph.D. student Dong Wang under the supervision of MCEER and SEESL Deputy Director Andre Filiatrault. The UB-SEESL website has video of the testing.

Remote Sensing Institute to Focus on Real World Applications

A new Remote Sensing Institute (RSI) will serve as a platform for developing and operationally implementing innovative multi-hazard techniques, strategies and products for rapidly assessing post-disaster impacts, modeling and quantifying the built environment, and monitoring recovery. Ron Eguchi, MCEER investigator and CEO of ImageCat, Inc., will serve as RSI Task Force team leader.

New Bridge and Highway Reports

Several new publications feature MCEER’s Highway Project research over the past decade. Topics include improved seismic design, evaluation and retrofit methodologies and strategies for new and existing bridges and other highway structures. The reports, which include manuals, guidelines and synthesis reports, are either newly available or will be released over the next few months.

Blind Analysis Contest

E-Defense announced the 2007 Blind Analysis Contest, in which a full-scale four-story steel building was tested to collapse on the world’s largest three-dimensional shake table, located in Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The building was shaken and collapsed from September 20-30, 2007, by applying a scaled version of near-fault motion recorded during the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Results

2007 Seminar Series Event

EQNet Services Available through MCEER Information Service

MCEER Information Service has consolidated the services formerly available from EQNET