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News Release 15-116

NSF invests $40 million in research infrastructure for earthquake, wind and water hazards

Experimental facilities and cyberinfrastructure will offer opportunities for natural hazards research to bolster community resilience

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Photo of 12-fan Wall of Wind facility

The 12-fan Wall of Wind at Florida International University, one of the experimental facilities in NSF's Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure, will enable better engineering against tornadoes, hurricanes and other windstorms.

Credit: Courtesy of FIU


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Photo of earthquake test structure

At Lehigh University, the NSF Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure facility enables earthquake engineers to perform hybrid simulation, which combines computer modeling and physical testing.

Here, an experimental substructure for a hybrid simulation of a self-centering, concentrically-braced steel frame is subjected to the maximum considered earthquake, which is likely to occur approximately once in 2,500 years.

Take a video tour of the Lehigh experimental facility.

Credit: Lehigh University


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Photo of a 9-meter geotechnical centrifuge arm.

The 9-meter geotechnical centrifuge at the University of California, Davis--part of the NSF Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure--can simulate the high pressures found deep in the ground within small-scale models while hydraulic actuators simulate earthquakes. Hundreds of sensors measure the response of the soil and model structures.

Here, the model seen on the centrifuge arm is part of the NSF project "NEESR: Seismic Response of Shallow Underground Structures in Dense Urban Environments" (CMMI-1134968).

Credit: Center for Geotechnical Modeling, UC Davis


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Photo of wood structure after testing on a shake table

The biggest shake table in the U.S., at the University of California, San Diego, is part of the NSF Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure. By reproducing earthquake seismic waves, the shake table enables researchers to test new designs for large structures made of concrete, wood, masonry and other materials.

Here, a wooden structure shows damage after testing on the UCSD shake table.

Credit: UC San Diego/Jacobs School of Engineering


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