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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 24, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2010

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Volume 24, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2010

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Earthquake Response and Rehabilitation of Critical Lifelines Focus of New Project

Full-scale experiments will be carried out to improve the performance of underground lifelines during both earthquakes and daily use.
(Photo courtesy of Insituform Technologies, Inc.)

A team of MCEER investigators have joined together to improve the performance of underground lifelines during both earthquakes and daily use by investigating how polymeric linings improve their resistance to ground shaking and ground failure. Led by Professor Thomas D. O’Rourke, Cornell University, MCEER investigator and former Executive Committee member, the $1.2 million, three-year project was awarded by the National Science Foundation through the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Research (NEESR) program.

The project will combine full-scale experiments with advanced computational procedures to develop and validate next generation 3-D models of the composite pipeline, liner, and soil system. These models will support design and construction to apply in situ lining technologies for seismic risk reduction as well as improve design and construction practices associated with liner rehabilitation of critical underground infrastructure. The research will also explore the use of flexible electronics to embed micro-sensors, and thus create "intelligence" in lining systems.

The project will use the NEES facilities at both Cornell and the University at Buffalo (UB). The Cornell NEES site will be used to simulate ground rupture effects on pipelines to reproduce upper bound conditions of deformation in the field. The dual shake table capabilities at the UB NEES site are uniquely qualified for simulating seismic wave interaction with pipelines, especially for replicating the critical condition of closely spaced weak joints and defects.

3-D models will support design and construction of in situ polymeric lining technologies. (Photo courtesy of Insituform Technologies, Inc.)

Co-PIs are Harry Stewart of Cornell University and Amjad Aref, Andre Filiatrault and of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. The education program will be managed by MCEER Information Services under the leadership of Ms. Tangalos, and is aimed at underrepresented students (both women and minority) and work force development in coordination with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). MCEER investigator Rupa Purasinghe will lead the educational program at California State University, Los Angeles.