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Cornell Large-Scale Lifelines Testing Facility

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NSF Award:

Large Displacement Soil-Structure Interaction Facility for Lifeline Systems  (Cornell University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) at Cornell University is part of a national network of laboratories funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NEES equipment site at Cornell University, housed at the Harry E. Bovay Jr. Civil Infrastructure Laboratory Complex, focuses on large displacement lifelines research, such as soil-structure interaction for underground gas, petroleum, and water transmission, trunk, and distribution pipelines. The testing facilities have no counterpart elsewhere.

Cornell University, through its School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been performing state-the-art testing and experiments for the oil, gas, electric power, and water supply industries for over 25 years. The Lifelines Group at Cornell specializes in full-scale tests to quantify and understand soil-pipeline interaction.  Members of the group are internationally recognized for their contributions to improved modeling, innovative testing and experimentation, advanced materials and construction procedures, and codes and practices adopted worldwide for pipelines, pipeline facilities, and critical infrastructure networks.

The NEES equipment site at Cornell's large displacement facility is a unique, world-class resource for research, education, and outreach focused on lifeline response to large ground deformation and the seismic performance of highly ductile above-ground structures using advanced materials and construction.

Education & Outreach

The NEES at Cornell equipment site has hosted workshops and educational events that have attracted students and researchers from around the world interested in learning about large displacement lifelines research. These have included tours for K-12 classes, tours for Undergraduate and graduate students, user Workshops, and industrial partner gatherings.

The NEES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is a dynamic 10-week summer research program for upper division undergraduate students interested 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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