Large-Scale High Performance Testing Facility towards Real-Time Hybrid Seismic Testing
Andrei Reinhorn Principal Investigator
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The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Program is a project funded under the NSF Major Research Equipment Program. This cooperative agreement, under the NEES Program, establishes a NEES large-scale laboratory experimentation equipment site towards real-time hybrid seismic testing at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY. The University at Buffalo will design, construct, install, commission, and operate a modular and highly flexible dynamic testing facility for large-scale geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering experimentation. This equipment will be operation by September 30, 2004 or earlier and will be managed as a national shared-use NEES equipment site, with teleobservation and teleoperation capabilities, to provide new earthquake engineering research testing capabilities for large structural systems through 2014. This NEES equipment site will be connected to the NEES collaboratory through the University's vBNS connection, with Gigabit Ethernet capabilities. Shared-use access and training with be coordinated through the NEES Consortium. This award is an outcome of the peer review of proposals submitted to program solicitation NSF 00-6, "NEES: Earthquake Engineering Research Equipment." The following equipment is provided under this award: (1) Three 100 ton dynamic actuators equipped with dual 400 gpm servovalves, +/- 500 mm stroke, (2) two 200 ton static actuators with 15 gpm servovalves, +/- 500 mm stroke, (3) hydraulic distribution lines and manifolds, (4) surge tank and accumulators, (5) two hydraulic pumps of 185 gpm each for continuous operation which along with the accumulator banks can provide maximum flow of 1600 gpm for 30 seconds, (6) digital control system, (7) test control package for both static and dynamic tests, (8) upgrade and expansion of existing data acquisition system to accommodate teleobservation, teleoperation, teletransmission, and telestorage, (9) data management and processing system to accommodate real-time systems, data acquisition, storage, distribution and analysis, and test instrumentation, (10) equipment for teleobservation and teleoperation capabilities so that experiments on the equipment will be observable and controllable via high performance network connections, (11) video imaging equipment with the eventual goal of streaming real-time video, and (12) sensors and measurement devices. The experimental facility allows for multiple configurations of full-scale component tests combined simultaneously with real-time numerical simulations to investigate the seismic behavior of large structural systems incorporating use of actuators, reactions walls, strong floor, and shake tables (one moveable). Further, the equipment will be used to develop new hybrid testing algorithms for near full-scale/large-scale testing. The University has committed $4 million for expansion and infrastructure improvements of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory in Ketter Hall on the University at Buffalo campus to house the upgraded and new equipment. This expansion includes a new research laboratory area with a strong floor and reaction walls, control rooms and offices for training and data processing, service areas, storage and office spaces, and a new 40 metric ton crane. The University at Buffalo will integrate this large-scale, high performance testing equipment into its research program and undergraduate and graduate curricula, provide training opportunities for outside researchers through on site courses, host visiting scholars, and develop a web-based teleoperation simulator of the NEES equipment.