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NEEScomm Update: August 2010

Posted in Announcements

Julio Ramirez, Director of NEES Operations, provides the NEES community with an informal update of NEEScomm activities.


NEES Update


August 2010


To keep the community apprised of the many new developments taking place and to streamline our communication, NEEScomm has developed NEES Update to provide you with news and information on a monthly basis. We look forward to your input and encourage you to visit the network web site,, for more frequent updates and important announcements.


Research Highlights:

The focus of this section is to provide a sample of the innovative research projects that have been undertaken using the NEES network of diverse experimental sites. The projects highlighted in this section illustrate the breadth of research activity.
For more information about the many notable projects conducted in the network, please visit:

Successful NEES Grand Challenge Tests on Nonductile Beam-Column Joints Experiencing Axial Collapse Under Simulated Seismic Loading - The axial collapse potential during intense seismic events of existing gravity load designed reinforced concrete buildings is a great concern. Wael Hassan, UC Berkeley PhD Candidate, under the supervision of Jack Moehle, UC Berkeley Professor and former PEER director is experimentally and analytically investigating the axial collapse likelihood following shear failure of unreinforced older-type construction corner beam-column joints. Videos and photos of the tests can be found at:

Seismic Performance of Bridge Systems with Conventional and Innovative Materials: Bridge Model 3 - Composite Piers - Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have recently tested a 110-ft. long, 11-ft. tall bridge model at the nees@UNR facility in the Large-Scale Structures Laboratory on three shake tables. The test was completed in June 2010 and was very successful in providing insight on the behavior of materials and details incorporated in the test mode. "Two unique features were the focus of the study of this bridge: its innovative piers and its construction technique," Prof. Saiidi, the director and principal investigator of the project said. The four-span bridge deck was supported on two abutments and three piers, each with two columns. Two of the piers were made with glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) tubes filled with concrete and the third pier was made with reinforced concrete segments that were wrapped with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) sheets.

Metal Building Systems - Metal Building Systems make up a large portion of new low-rise, non-residential construction today. These systems are designed to be extremely efficient and as such exhibit very different behavior than other steel building systems. The current building codes lump Metal Building Systems in with other types of steel building systems in terms of their design criteria. With the support of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association MBMA , NEES and the American Iron and Steel Institute AISI, three Metal Building System specimens will be tested to determine the seismic response of various configurations. The first specimen tested on the UC San Diego Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table NEES lab (nees@UCSD) in April of this year was a typical Metal Building System with metal panel sidewalls. The full-scale specimen represents the interior of a 20 ft. high metal building with 18 ft. bay spacing and 60 ft. span length. The response of each specimen will be used to calibrate models for a FEMA P695 study, which will determine appropriate design criteria for these unique building systems. This research at UCSD is led by Professor C.-M. Uang working with Mr. Matthew Smith, a Ph.D. graduate student researcher at UCSD.,0,6778925.story


The first release of the NEEShub (Figure 1), the new collaboration platform of, took place on July 31st, 2010. We invite you to visit to see it and use it! We want to direct your attention in particular to the Project Warehouse (Figure 2) and the inDEED visualization tool (Figure 3). To launch the tools, all you need to do is register for NEEShub. Within 24 hours, you will receive confirmation of registration and a whole set of tools will be available to you.


The NEEShub has several features designed to solicit input from the community. The Wish List tool, allows you to contribute requests for future developments in the hub. Be sure to use the Support button to report any bugs or problems. We assure you a timely response. Stay tuned for future e-mail announcements and videos about the NEESAcademy.

Figure 1. NEEShub Release 1

Figure 2. Project Warehouse

Figure 3. inDEED Visualization Tools

In parallel with wrapping up Release 1 functionality, NEEScomm IT has begun planning for Release 2 and beyond. While Release 1 introduced initial essential building blocks of functionality such as inDEED, future releases will focus on connecting the building blocks to provide researchers with an improved overall workflow. Community ideas for future releases are welcome and can be voiced through the NEEShub Wish List.



The network is working to form strong partnerships with other large-scale testing facilities around the globe. Another significant milestone was reached on July 8, 2010 with the official signature at the Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) in Japan, of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on use of facilities and research collaboration between PARI and NEES. PARI has developed and operates experimental facilities for 1) marine environment and engineering, 2) geotechnical and structural engineering, and 3) construction and control systems in close collaboration with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan. Among those facilities are the “Large Hydro-Geo Flume (LHGF)”, an “Underwater Shake Table (UST)” to investigate earthquake and tsunami engineering (Figure 4) and a “Large Geotechnical and Hydrodynamic Centrifuge (LGHC)” to investigate the multi-hazards of earthquakes and tsunamis.


Figure 4. PARI Underwater Shake Table (UST)

The renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding with The National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) on earthquake engineering research using E-Defense and NEES Facilities represents an important accomplishment with significant realizations in the collaborative research arena. This agreement together with the agreement established between NSF and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology (MExT) have provided the support framework for a sustained and successful component of the NEESR program which is now in its second phase. There are annual and other meetings of the NEES/E-Defense community to plan and coordinate the research effort , and encourage broad participation in the activities. Prof. Steve Mahin on behalf of the U.S. and Prof. Masayoshi Nakashima on behalf of NIED and E-Defense are leading coordination efforts. The Eighth NEES/E-Defense Planning Meeting is scheduled for the 16-17th of September 2010 in Kobe, Japan. A series of presentations on Japan/US collaborative research has been organized in a special session at the upcoming Quake Summit 2010 on October 8-9.

For more information on the upcoming 8th NEES/E-Defense Planning Meeting, please visit:

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program: On August 18, 28 REU students met at University of Illlinois to showcase their summer’s work at the Young Researcher’s Symposium. The day started with a keynote talk by Dr. Billie Spencer on Smart Sensing Technology. The students were then treated to a tour of the NEES@UIUC laboratory where graduate students summarized several of the exciting ongoing experimental studies (Figure 5).

Figure 5. REU students Tour NEES@UIUC laboratory

The REU students then presented the results of their research this summer at a poster session. Cristian Acevedo, who worked with Dr. Jack Moehle this summer on shear wall boundary elements, was awarded best poster. To recognize his acheivements NEES is supporting Cristian to attend Quake Summit 2010 and present his work at the poster session. On August 19, the students were introduced to the history of highrise contruction through an architectural tour of Chicago. Thank you to Site Operations Manager Greg Pluta and the whole team at NEES@UIUC for planning such an outstanding culminating event for the 2010 REU prorgram.

Thank you,


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director NEES Operations
Purdue University