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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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NEES Update

NEESWood Project Draws International Media Attention

gymnasium Testing of a fully furnished wood frame house
attracted a large crowd of observers to the UB-NEES facility

On November 14, 2006, the UB-NEES equipment site, part of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL), was used to subject a fully furnished 1800 sq. ft. wood frame townhouse to a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. A large crowd of observers, including members of the local, national and international media, attended the event.

The Media Day program featured an overview of the experimental program by Andre Filiatrault, Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and MCEER Deputy Director at the University at Buffalo (UB), and co-PI of the project. The shake table testing followed.

The initial phases of the project involved a series of shake table tests at the UB-NEES equipment site. Part of the testing included equipping the townhouse with silicon fluid dampers, developed and provided by MCEER Flagship Partner, Taylor Devices.

Following the final testing phase and as a result of the media coverage, Taylor Devices made the first sale of these seismic dampers to the residential housing market. The dampers will be installed on a $35 million home being built in southern California.
NEESWood is a consortium of researchers led by John W. van de Lindt, Colorado State University. Co-principal investigators include Rachel Davidson, Cornell University, Andre Filiatrault, UB, David V. Rosowsky, Texas A&M University and Michael Symans, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Michael Symans is a graduate of UB, where he earned his Ph.D. based on MCEER-funded research on experimental and analytical investigations of the seismic response of structures with supplemental fluid viscous dampers.

Other UB team members include post-doctoral researcher Assawin Wanitkorkul, who also participates in MCEER’s research program, and graduate student Jianis Christovasilis, as well as several undergraduate REU students. The construction of the test building included students from Erie Community College, a local two-year school granting associate degrees in Construction Technology.