Skip directly to content

Steeling Buildings Against Seismic Activity

NSF Award:

NEESR-SG: International Hybrid Simulation of Tomorrow's Braced Frame Systems  (University of Washington)

Congressional Districts:
Research Areas:

Steel structures constitute the majority of engineered building systems in the U.S. Concentrically braced steel frames are a practical and economical structural system for seismic design of buildings, but their performance is more complex and less understood than most other structural systems. In addition, current designs of braced frames are complicated and sometimes difficult to construct.

Few tests are available to evaluate the braced frame system as a whole. However, in a small group research project led by researchers at the University of Washington, a comprehensive series of experiments and nonlinear analyses were performed on more than 40 large-scale braced frame systems. This work will provide the international earthquake engineering community with important technologies for understanding, evaluating and designing braced frames.

Tests were performed at the University of Washington, the University of Minnesota, the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Center for Research in Earthquake Engineering in Taiwan. The frames were designed and built with a wide range of design parameters, and were then tested through an entire range of system performance up to and including ultimate system failure.

The research will make steel buildings more economical and design methods more reliable. Used in combination with other test data, the research will help create a design procedure that makes braced frames easier to construct and safer in earthquakes.


  • testing a two-story braced frame at the national center for research in earthquake engineering in taiwan
Testing a two-story braced frame at the National Center for Research in Earthquake Engineering in Taiwan.
Charles W. Roeder, University of Washington

Recent Award Highlights

recyled water bottles are transformed into lightweight panels for multiple applications

Construction and printing materials fabricated from plastic component in used water bottles

Rapid fabricator transforms plastic into commercially viable panels

Research Areas: Engineering Locations: Washington
sensors within the hospital's foundation capture aftershock responses

Monitoring a building's response to earthquake aftershocks

Earthquake-resistant hospital provides guidance to architects and engineers

Research Areas: Engineering Locations: North Carolina International