NCEER Accomplishments

Release Date: October 7, 1997

The National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, headquartered at the University at Buffalo, has directed nearly $110 million toward research and education programs in its 11-year history. Much of the knowledge and technology developed through NCEER's programs has been put into practice. Its accomplishments include:

• As a result of NCEER research, major buildings in California have been retrofitted to reduce the risk of earthquake damage. They include the Santa Clara County Building in San Jose, the historic U.S. Court of Appeals building in San Francisco and a U.S. Navy building in San Diego.

• The new San Francisco airport terminal, now under construction, is being built with seismic-protection devices that were extensively tested at NCEER; it will be the largest base-isolated structure in the world.

• NCEER was a leading advocate and technical advisor for a building code including seismic provisions for new buildings that was enacted in New York City in 1995.

• Center researchers have played major roles in reconnaissance efforts following major U.S. earthquakes, including those occurring in 1989 in the San Francisco Bay area and in 1994 in Northridge, Calif., as well as those occurring in other countries, including the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan.

• NCEER is participating in an NSF-funded, multi-year joint project with the International Center for Disaster-Mitigation Engineering at the University of Tokyo.

-- A partnership with Taylor Devices, a Tonawanda defense contractor, led to the defense firm developing a new nondefense market by modifying military technologies for seismic protection of buildings and other structures.

-- NCEER researchers developed a "smart" earthquake-protection system that has been licensed to Enidine, Inc., of Orchard Park, which obtained a $6 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to further develop the technology for earthquake protection and naval applications.

-- A joint project between NCEER, Taylor Devices and Moog, Inc., involved developing active fluid dampers to reduce earthquake vibrations in structures by combining technologies originally developed for the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

• Three NCEER projects in and around Memphis, Tenn., which lies within the New Madrid fault zone, brought together seismologists, members of several engineering disciplines and sociologists and economists to quantify the earthquake threat and develop a universal methodology to estimate direct losses to the built environment, and indirect, economic losses that would occur with a major earthquake.

• Researchers working on the NCEER Building Project have developed methods for evaluating and rehabilitating concrete and masonry structures that were not designed for seismic forces, structures that are common in the central and eastern U.S.

• Studies in San Francisco and the Memphis area have focused on the earthquake threat to lifelines, the network of systems that disperse energy and water and provide transportation, telecommunications and other critical services throughout population centers, offering strategies to reduce vulnerability to these systems.

• NCEER functions as a unique educational resource for undergraduate and graduate students at institutions throughout the center's network. To date, 150 earthquake engineers have received their doctorates after participating in NCEER-supported research.

For further information about NCEER, go to the center's Web site at http://nceer.eng.buffalo.edu

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