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Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing Laboratory

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A System for Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing (MAST)  (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Multi-Axial Subassemblage testing Laboratory (MAST Lab) is hosted by the University of Minnesota as part of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). MAST Lab is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

NEES is the centerpiece of NSF’s ongoing priority to understand earthquakes and prevent or mitigate the damage they cause. NEES is a network of sites available for experimentation on-site, in the field, and through remote operations. The network helps researchers understand how earthquake and tsunami forces affect ground motion and soil liquefaction as well as the built environment—buildings, bridges, utility systems—and near-shore and coastal environments. The NEES networking cyberinfrastructure connects equipment sites and provides a tele-presence, a curated central data repository, simulation tools and collaborative tools for facilitating on-line planning, execution and post-processing of experiments.

MAST Lab can be used to investigate the effects of earthquakes, high winds, and other extreme events on structures several stories tall. Structures up to 29 feet tall can be placed on a testing platform and subjected to heavy loads by hydraulic arms that mimic the conditions of extreme events. The arms can simulate vertical forces of 1.32 million pounds and horizontal forces of 800,000 pounds.

Education & Outreach

MAST Lab showcases its facilities each month in a public tour. For upper division college undergraduates, the NEES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program provides a dynamic 10-week summer research program in Civil Engineering, Computer Science/Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and other fields related to seismic risk mitigation testing. REU participants are paired with a faculty advisor, join a NEES research team, and participate in enrichment activities including attending the NEES Annual Meeting and the Young Researchers’ Symposium. Mentors, including university faculty, researchers, and graduate students, provide support and guidance to interns. Students are taught how to conduct independent research and how to participate effectively as a member of a research team.

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  • Image from the NSF-funded Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation.
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