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NEEScomm Update: November 2010

Posted in Announcements

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

NEES Update

November 2010

QuakeSummit 2010

San Francisco, CA skyline
The 2010 joint PEER/NEES annual meeting in San Francisco, CA was a great success with more than 500 registered participants. Many individuals were involved in planning, coordinating, participating in various aspects of the event, working hard to meet the needs of the NEES community and they all deserve recognition. In addition, the list of speakers and technical presentations and videos may be found here.

The two NEEShub workshops were held before standing-room only attendance. Many positive comments about the Blind Prediction Contest for the full-scale reinforced concrete bridge column were received as well. Congratulations to Lawrence Burkett, Rutherford & Chekene, and Bill Tremayne, Holmes Culley, for winning the Engineering Professional category and to Zhe Qu from Tokyo Institute of Technology, for winning the Academic Researcher category.
Blue angels formation over San Francisco skyline

Student Poster Reception

The first-ever Media Competition drew many quality submissions in the photo and video categories. Please visit to view the winners and the runners-up. The NEES Equipment Site Manager’s Forum (ESMF) sponsored a very successful sensors, instrumentation, and data acquisition workshop during the Quake Summit. Thanks to Robert Nigbor, Dan Wilson, Rachel Gaulke, Inthuorn Sasanakul, and Farn-Yuh Menq for their efforts associated with this workshop. There are plans to develop presentations from the workshop into a learning module and made available on NEEShub through the NEESacademy.

NEES Awards Presentation Lunch

NEES Shared-Use Support

As the date for the release of next year’s NEESR solicitation approaches, we wish to remark the unique and valuable benefit NEES provides to researchers through the network’s state-of-the-art, shared-use facilities. The NEES equipment sites are supported by NEES maintenance, operation, and management (MOM) funds. NSF provides these funds so that the NEES sites are available and ready to be utilized. Additionally, these funds also support trained site staff focused on supporting your research efforts. NEES site personnel provide unparalleled expertise in regards to experimental set-up, testing, and data management. Without the Network, the cost of these items would normally be included in your project’s budget request to funding agencies. The MOM funds from the National Science Foundation ensure that the researchers in NEES shared-use projects benefit from this support.

Data Management Plan Template

The NEESR solicitation will require a data management plan. To facilitate your work in this regard, NEEScomm is in the process of developing a template for a NEESR data plan for your use. A link to this template will be available in time for NEESR solicitations. Stay tuned to

Education, Outreach & Training (EOT)

View of festival down one avenue
Following close on the heels of the annual meeting, NEES participated in a colossal outreach event in Washington, D.C. – a two-day Science Expo on the National Mall on October 23-24, 2010. The USA Science & Engineering Festival, hosted by Lockheed Martin, was created to get the nation's families excited and engaged in science and engineering because that's where many of today's and tomorrow's jobs will be.

The festival included participation by more than 350 of the nation's leading science and engineering organizations including colleges and universities, corporations, federal agencies, museums and science centers, and professional engineering and science societies.
 The event featured more than 750 hands-on, interactive exhibits spanning aerospace, green energy, medicine, biotechnology, climatology, robotics, nanotechnology, botany, neuroscience, genetics, and many other scientific disciplines. A mini shake table in the NEES booth captured the attention of nearly 3,000 visitors over the two-day event, offering a fun and easy way to learn about building earthquake resistant buildings.
Young people building structure before it is put on shake table.

Information Technology

IT worked diligently this month coordinating special programming for the annual meeting to meet the needs of researchers, practitioners and students. Two NEEShub sessions were offered during Quake Summit 2010: NEEShub ABCs and Using and Contributing Tools. NEEShub ABCs was a standing room only session given by Dr. Ellen Rathje and Rachelle Howell, both of University of Texas. The session provided an introduction to NEEShub for researchers; it focused on data management and research collaboration. The session participants asked excellent questions resulting in a learning experience for all. Dr. McLennan of Purdue University conducted the second session. It covered general information about searching for and using NEEShub tools, in addition to contributing tools to the NEEShub.

Meanwhile, work on NEEShub Release 2 has been steadily progressing. Unfulfilled requirements from Release 1 were combined with the NEEShub wishes as of mid-September. Each item in the combined list was reviewed for clarity and completeness. We are pleased to report that the University of Minnesota has agreed to become the primary development team for the RDV tool. NEEScomm IT is looking forward to this work arrangement and is open to other opportunities to leverage development talents at the NEES Equipment Sites.

Sample of Research Highlights

Large-Scale Bridge Columns Test at UCSD
Tests were conducted at the NEES@UCSD for the project entitled “Large-Scale Validation of Seismic Performance of Bridge Columns,” (NSF Award #0738014, PI Steve Mahin, University of California, Berkeley). This NEESR investigation evaluated the first shake table results for full-scale bridge columns detailed consistent with current Department of Transportation of California (Caltrans) design practice. Under the auspices of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Caltrans and NSF; and industry sponsorships from Skanska and the Concrete and Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI), this research project tested a 1.2 m diameter bridge column with a mass of 250 ton placed atop in order to mobilize inertial forces. The column was densely instrumented to obtain high quality data and tested under various earthquake ground motions, including motions of severe intensity demanding large inelastic response.

Researchers Charbel Khoury (left), University of Oklahoma, and Alan Seeley, Advanced Geosolutions work with the cement to be used on the project. (Source: Tulsa World, photographer Gary Crow.)

Researchers (NSF Award #0830328, “NEESR-SG: Understanding and Improving the Seismic Behavior of Pile Foundations in Soft Clays,” PI K.K. “Muralee” Muraleetharan, University of Oklahoma; and co-PIs Gerald Miller, University of Oklahoma; Sri Sritharan, Iowa State University; Steven Vukazich, San Jose State University; and Amy Cerato, University of Oklahoma) recently conducted a series of tests using the NEES@UCLA equipment as part of a NEESR project in Miami, Oklahoma in collaboration with Ravi Ravichandran, Clemson University; Arul Arulmoli, Earth Mechanics, Inc.; Juan Baez, Advanced GeoSolutions; UCLA Grand River Dam Authority; the Oklahoma Department of Transportation; and the City of Miami.

The purpose of the test was to investigate “cement deep-soil mixing” process as a means of strengthening clay soil to improve the performance of bridge support pilings. The test received a great deal of media publicity thanks to an actual 4.3 earthquake in Norman, OK the same day, that Robert Nigbor, NEES@UCLA site manager and site co-PI, assures NEES did not cause. Links to one of the stories and a video is provided on and other mentions are noted in the In The News section of the website as well as here (The Daily Oklahoman, < ahref="'>The Joplin Globe, Tulsa World and KODE-TV, Joplin, Missouri). Congratulations to NEES@UCLA on the successful tests.

Researchers at bridge test site in Miami, OK.

Thank you,


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