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ATLSS: World leaders in earthquake engineering research

James Ricles

Researchers from Lehigh’s Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Center played key roles at three international conferences on earthquake engineering that were held recently in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Second U.S.-Taiwan Workshop on Self-Centering Structural Systems focused on new ways of designing and building structures that can survive earthquakes with little or no damage. The workshop was organized by James Ricles, a professor of civil engineering and the director of ATLSS’s Real-Time Multi-Directional (RTMD) earthquake testing facility, and K.C. Tsai, director of Taiwan’s National Center for Research in Earthquake Engineering (NCREE).

ATLSS has received a $2-million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop steel building frames that “self-center” after an earthquake. ATLSS researchers are collaborating on the project with colleagues from Princeton and Purdue Universities and NCREE.

Richard Sause

The self-centering earthquake-resistant structural systems, says professor Richard Sause, ATLSS director, will contain carefully designed elastic elements that restore a structure to its original position regardless of the amount of shaking to which it is subjected during an earthquake.

David Roke, a Ph.D. candidate in structural engineering at Lehigh, as well as Ricles and Sause, made presentations at the workshop. Also presenting was Maria Garlock ’91, who earned a Ph.D. in structural engineering from Lehigh in 2003 and is now an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton.

The U.S.-Taiwan Workshop on Smart Structural Technology for Seismic Hazard Mitigation focused on state-of-the-art and future research opportunities in smart structures technology—an area covering sensors, structural control, smart materials, and structural condition monitoring and integrity assessment. This NSF-sponsored event attracted more than 20 experts from the U.S. and Taiwan. They discussed sensing, control and monitoring technologies to protect structures from large seismic events.

Yunfeng Zhang

Yunfeng Zhang, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Le-Wu Lu, professor emeritus in the department, each made a presentation at the workshop.

The two workshops came on the heels of the Fourth International Conference on Earthquake Engineering (ICEE). The Lehigh delegation attending the ICEE conference, including Ricles, Sause, Zhang, Lu, and Roke, presented a total of four papers, and Sause and Ricles each moderated sessions.

Several weeks before the ICEE conference, a Lehigh contingent traveled to Yokohama, Japan, to attend STESSA 2006: The Fifth International Conference on the Behavior of Steel Structures in Seismic Areas.

Among those making presentations at STESSA 2006 were Ricles, Sause, Oya Mercan, a Ph.D. candidate in structural engineering at Lehigh, and Ricardo Herrera and Larry Fahnestock, who recently earned Ph.D.s in structural engineering from Lehigh. Herrera now teaches at the University of Chile, while Fahnestock is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The next STESSA conference, to be held in 2009 in Philadelphia, will be organized by the ATLSS Center at Lehigh, with Ricles acting as conference chairman.

--Kurt Pfitzer

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007

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