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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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Suspended Nonstructural Component Systems Consortium Develops Test Platform

An advanced state-of-the-art test platform allows testing of large-scale suspended ceiling systems.

An advanced state-of-the-art test platform allows testing of large-scale suspended ceiling systems.

MCEER and Armstrong World Industries have partnered to establish an industry consortium to examine and improve the earthquake resilience of Suspended Nonstructural Component Systems. These include suspended ceilings, water and other piping, lighting, sprinkler systems, HVAC ducting, and other suspended nonstructural systems.

The foundational initiative of the consortium was the design and fabrication of an advanced state-of-the-art test platform and instrumentation for extensive study of the variety of suspended nonstructural component systems in today's marketplace. The platform offers both a physical frame that can accommodate a continuous suspended ceiling up to 1,000 ft2 and a compensation method that enables accurate floor motions at specific locations within a structure (see technical report MCEER-10-0004, in preparation). The compensation method is currently being considered for incorporation into American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

The first experiments using the test platform are schedule for Spring 2011, as part of the NEES Nonstructural project. The tests will attempt to investigate the validity of suggested changes to the AC156 standard and additional aspects related to the interaction of suspended ceilings and other fixtures.

The consortium is led by Andrei Reinhorn, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, and Paul Hough, Armstrong World Industries, Inc. For more information, contact