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ATLSS Center gets $5M Grant

Lehigh has received a highly competitive grant of $5 million to participate in a national initiative aimed at improving the resiliency and sustainability of the civil infrastructure to better withstand the effects of earthquakes and other natural hazards.

The five-year award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will support the operation and maintenance to perform research using the unique experimental facilities located in Lehigh’s ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Research Center.

The award is being made through NSF’s $40 million Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program, which launched in September.

NHERI will support a network of state-of-the-art shared-use research facilities at seven U.S. universities that will evaluate the performance of engineering designs and materials during earthquakes, hurricanes and other storms, tsunamis, landslides and other disasters.

Lehigh’s ATLSS Center, which was founded in 1986 with support from NSF, contains some of the largest structural testing facilities in the world. The NEES real-time multidirectional (RTMD) facility allows for hybrid seismic testing and, when combined with real-time numerical simulations, enables researchers to investigate the behavior of large-scale structural components during seismic events.

ATLSS researchers have designed some of the major innovations in earthquake engineering. These include braced frames with passive and semi-active dampers, in addition to self-centering steel, concrete, and timber structures that absorb seismic loads and minimizes earthquake damage to structures.

These advances have contributed to the goal of earthquake engineers in the last half-century, which is not only to eliminate loss of life during earthquakes but also to greatly minimize the property damage and structural “down time” caused by seismic events.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

-Kurt Pfitzer is the Manager, Editorial Services for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at Lehigh University.

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