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NEES Press Kit


George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) is a distributed network of 14 laboratories across the country connected by state-of-the-art cyber-infrastructure. NEES is funded by the National Science Foundation. Video overview and YouTube site

Researchers anywhere it the world can use the network, see real-time results, and even run interactive simulations simultaneously at more than one location. The 14 sites are at major research universities and the network is managed at Purdue University, which provides the IT research and cybernetwork, powered by HUBzero software developed at Purdue. The sites are categorized below based on their specialized capabilities and equipment: mega-shake tables, tsunami basin, large-scale engineering, geotechnical centrifuges and field equipment.



NEES@University of Nevada, Reno

NEES@UNevada offers multiple shake tables, which can be used separately or in combination for conducting research on long, spatially distributed, structural and geotechnical systems. Video


NEES@University of California at San Diego

NEES@UCSD's outdoor shake table can be used to test structures up to seven stories tall, tall wind turbines, high-voltage transformers and retaining walls. Video 1...Video 2




NEES@Oregon State University

Oregon State University's Tsunami Research Facility generates tsunamis generated by earthquakes and landslides to measure impact on structures, floating debris, coastal areas, sediment transport, and more. It includes a tsunami wave basin and large wave fume. It is unique in the nation. Video 1 ... Video 2




NEES@University of Buffalo

The University of Buffalo's Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory operates a testing facility for extensive earthquake simulation and testing earthquake impact on structures and the earth. A very versatile earthquake research facility, it can accommodate very large structures to see how they react to a wide range of seismic activity, even when tested to complete failure. Video 1 ... Video 2

NEES@University of California at Berkeley

Researchers model large-scale structural systems -- such as buildings and bridges -- to see how they respond in an earthquake. New hybrid simulation methods combine physical and analytical sub-structures into a hybrid model of the entire structure using state-of-the-art digital controllers and networks. The site also offers more conventional retention wall facilities. Video ... Video 2


NEES@Cornell University

The Cornell Large-Scale Lifelines Testing Facility is a unique, world-class resource focused on underground lifelines – water, sewage, oil, gas electrical, etc. Members of the group are internationally recognized for their contributions to improved modeling, innovative testing and experimentation, advanced materials and construction procedures, and codes and practices adopted worldwide for pipelines, pipeline facilities, and critical infrastructure networks. Video




NEES@University of Minnesota

At NEES@Minnesota's equipment twists, compresses or stretches components of large structures such as buildings or bridges in order to study what happens to them during earthquakes and other extreme events such as hurricanes or attacks. They can test the strength of structural components up to two stories high at full scale or higher at partial scale. Their system is capable of applying up to 1.32 million pounds of vertical force and nearly 900,000 pounds of horizontal force.


NEES@Lehigh University

Lehigh University can test large-scale structural systems, from 60,000-pound loaded cargo carriers to steel frame buildings. It has been used to test parts of ship hulls, bridge decks, shear walls, and four-story buildings. The facility is among the largest of its kind. Video

NEES@University of Illinois

NEES@UI offers tools that combine experimental and analytical simulations. Recent studies there have tested the behavior of anchors in a reinforced concrete wall, piers for a curved bridge and reinforced concrete walls simulating cores of a 10-story structure.



NEES@Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute operates a 150 G-ton centrifuge that can produce a force of 200 Gs – 200 times the earth's gravitation-- and can spin a sample weighing up to 1.5 tons. The centrifuge tests physical models of earth's structures, mostly soil structures, such as earth dams, embankments, foundations of buildings and bridges and retaining walls. A specialized shake table – one of only three in existence -- allows earthquakes to be simulated on models while the centrifuge is spinning. Video


NEES@University of California at Davis

The centerpiece of NEES@UCDavis site is a 75 G geotechnical centrifuge that is used for static and dynamic testing of soil and soil-structure models. The centrifuge has the largest radius and platform area of any geotechnical centrifuge in the United States and is among the largest in the world. The centrifuge can carry 5-ton payloads. Its large size allows researchers to perform experiments of complete geotechnical engineering systems with a level of detail and complexity that is not possible with smaller scale centrifuges.



NEES@University of Texas, Austin

Nees@UTexas is known for its dynamic large-scale shaker systems that are mounted on trucks and used in the field. The shakers have a diverse force and frequency capabilities, an instrumentation van that houses state-of-the-art data acquisition systems, and a large collection of field instrumentation. The field equipment can be used in a variety of applications, including shear wave velocity characterization, liquefaction testing, geophysical testing, and dynamic testing of structures. During experiments the instrumentation van can connect to the NEESgrid via wireless uplink, allowing offsite access to both live video and data. Shaker trucks photos ... Video

NEES@University of California at Santa Barbara

NEES@UCSB offers permanently instrumented geotechnical test sites designed to improve our understanding of the effects of surface geology on strong ground motion. An instrumented structure is also monitored to improve our understanding of soil-foundation-structure interaction effects. The arrays are located near the San Jacinto and San Andreas faults and in California's Imperial Valley.


NEES@University of California at Los Angeles

NEES@UCLA's mobile field laboratory provides detailed analysis of an earthquake's impact on full-scale structural and foundation systems and soil structure interactions. It was recently used in a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, and in tests of the fragile system of levees in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta. It also went on-site at the Los Angeles International Airport to test the LAX Theme Building.





Multimedia Gallery



Julio Ramirez, professor of civil engineering at Purdue University. Ramirez is the chief officer of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). Ramirez is an expert in reinforced concrete structures and seismic effects. His research efforts have focused on the solution of engineering problems such as high-strength concrete, earthquake engineering and bridge design.

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(765) 430-7853


Thomas O'Rourke, Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering at Cornell University. His expertise includes geotechnical and earthquake engineering; underground construction technology; engineering of large, geographically distributed systems such as water supplies, gas and liquid fuel systems, electric power, and transportation facilities; and engineering for extreme events, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.

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(607) 255-6470


Daniel Cox, professor of coastal and ocean engineering at Oregon State University. Cox studies the impact of tsunamis and ocean waves on coastal structures. He can discuss how tsunamis vary in behavior as they approach coastal areas, depending on terrain, and the resulting damage they may induce.

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(541) 737-3631 or (541) 737-3052

Hermann Fritz, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology Regional Engineering Center in Savannah. Fritz's research centers on coastal protection and the fluid dynamic aspects of natural hazards such as tsunamis, hurricane storm surges, and landslides.

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(912) 966-7947


Mary C. Comerio, professor of architecture and environmental design at University of California, Berkeley. As an architect, she focuses her attention on how economic, social, technical and political realities can be blended to encourage building rehabilitation in areas prone to earthquakes. She looks for answers that help cities rebuild without losing population, jobs and social network.

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(510) 642-4942


Brady Cox, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Texas-Austin. Cox specializes in geotechnical engineering issues related to earthquake loading, soil dynamics and nondestructive material characterization using stress waves. His research focuses on soil liquefaction, earth-retaining structures, dynamic site characterizations, site response analysis and building standards.

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(512) 471-9162