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Seminar Series

The EERI student chapter of the University at Buffalo (UB-EERI), the MCEER Student Leadership Council, the Networking and Education Programs of MCEER, and the University at Buffalo’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering jointly sponsor a series of seminars on a variety of topics related to earthquake hazard mitigation. The purpose of the seminar series is to widen accessibility to timely, technical presentations by students, researchers, visitors and affiliates of MCEER. All seminars are held at the University at Buffalo, and most are broadcast over the Internet in real-time. They can be viewed on the MCEER SLC web site, which also includes a biography, abstract and full-length review, at

Seismic Response of Voltage Transformer

Howard Matt, Ph.D. Student, Department of Structural Engineering, University of California, San Diego, October 9, 2003

Howard Matt discussed the critical parameters of supporting transformer structures affecting the seismic response of bushings, known to be highly susceptible to damage under strong ground shaking. He quantified and compared the dynamic response of voltage transformers with the predictions of the IEEE-693 1997 standard, and introduced various retrofit schemes that would enhance the performance of the transformer structure such that the current quantification standards remain valid. He also modeled four different voltage transformers using the finite element program SAP2000, and conducted shake table tests on a transformer equipped with a mock bushing to validate the numerical modeling.

Continuous Hybrid Simulation with Geographically Distributed Substructures

Gilberto Mosqueda, Ph.D. Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, October 16, 2003

After an overview of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), expected to increase the size and complexity of models that can be tested using hybrid simulation, Gilberto Mosqueda demonstrated a control system based on an event-driven scheme that supports the implementation of computationally demanding hybrid simulation algorithms, both continuous and real-time. He also discussed methods for hybrid testing with geographically distributed substructures and explained dynamic models of a test setup for hybrid testing. He concluded that the event-based hybrid test controller and dynamic models of the test setup are new tools in the portfolio of experimentalists that will help deliver one promise of NEES: enable hybrid simulation at geographically distributed sites.

Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Estimates in Nevada: Questionable Results and How We Might Fix Them

Dr. John G Anderson, Director, Nevada Seismological Laboratory, December 8, 2003

Using geologic structures that would be different if strong shaking had occurred at any point in time, such as a 10,000 year old precariously balanced rock formation, Dr. Anderson asserted that probabilistic seismic hazard analyses, such as the high-profile analysis of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, may not be particularly credible. Using more observations of precarious rock formations, he showed how to correct the hazard analyses, and used a laboratory example and a proposed thought experiment to illustrate how hazard analysis can be redefined.

Structural Control Technologies

Thomas Zemanek and Shubin Ruan, Ph.D., P.E. , Enidine Structures, January 23, 2004

This presentation focused on structural control products manufactured by Enidine. Mr. Zemanek described the development of the viscous damper, which was first used in military applications, and how it works. He then discussed other available structural control products, including wire rope isolators and floor isolators. He concluded with an overview of structures containing Enidine devices, such as the 3-Com Data Center in San Francisco, the King County Court House in Seattle, and the Coronado Bridge in San Diego.

Today’s Structural Engineer as the Classic Master Builder

David A. Friedman, President, Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc., February 23, 2004

David Friedman began his seminar with the premise that today’s structural engineer is a “Master Builder,” who must have a great breadth of knowledge and experience in technical engineering, architecture, and construction, and who must stay up to date on the research, development and design of high performance systems in order to articulate his or her way through a labyrinth of form finding, criteria setting, risk evaluation, design, documentation, and construction. He then used recent Forell/Elsesser Engineers Inc. projects, including San Francisco City Hall, the Haas Pavilion, San Francisco’s State Office Building, an Asian Art Museum, a private residence, and a large sculpture, to explore these issues.

The Bulletin is a free publication offering articles on Center research, cooperative ventures, reports from conferences, educational activities, upcoming events, and reviews of new MCEER publications Spring 2004

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