Talk on Risk Management & Disaster Mitigation in the 2nd Annual DigitalC-CLE X, Cleveland, OH

September 26, 2017

Prof. Heo gave a talk in the 2nd Annual DigitalC-CLE X, Cleveland, OH. DigitalC-CLE X is an experimental day-long event to bring together Cleveland’s best minds in tech, design, art, science and education and to share creativity, spark ideas developing in Cleveland through 7-minute rapid-fire presentations. Professor Heo gave a talk titled “Risk Management & Disaster Mitigation” during this local networking event.

The ultimate research goal of MHS DRISK Research Lab is to promote the health and safety of our society by protecting critical infrastructure vulnerable to natural and technological disasters such as earthquake, storms, floods, fires, explosions, and so on. Critical infrastructure includes aboveground and underground systems such as buildings, energy infrastructure facilities, health/emergency care facilities, transportation systems, and pipelines. The risks to these systems are getting higher mainly due to infrastructure aging across the us and exacerbated climate change, which triggers stronger storms, heavier rainfalls and sea and lake level rise.

One of the ongoing research projects sponsored by her Early-Career Fellowship of the NASEM Gulf Research Program is to develop a lifetime multi-hazard risk model for petrochemical infrastructure systems exposed to harsher storm and flood related events in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. outer continental shelf regions including the Great Lake basin. This risk model will provide essential information to mitigate the potential failure probability of these infrastructure systems and to improve its resilience, which means its ability to restore to its original condition after a catastrophic disaster. We could observe the significance and urgency of this project through successive hurricane disasters in the Gulf region this year. For example, during the Hurricane Harvey flooding disaster, we had no idea how much the infrastructure system will get damaged under water, we had no idea how long it will take to make the industry and the city get back to the normal operable condition after the unprecedented flooding disaster. There were, however, the indications of noticeable failure on these systems from contaminated floodwater and fires and explosions during the disaster.

The project will perform advanced simulations to evaluate the system level performance of these systems subjected to multiple dynamic actions induced by multiple hazards based on statistical and probabilistic approaches to quantify the risk to these critical infrastructure systems. Also, its socio-economic impact will be evaluated to inform how local energy infrastructure failures can lead to disruptions in the local community in terms of human health, environments and economy further to nation-wide and world-wide energy markets as these are connected each other through substantial supply chain in our modern society. Professor Heo will contribute to the local community as well as national/international societies by providing education programs to engineers and K-12 school science teachers and students and by establishing partnerships with local institutions in collaboration with Great Lake Research Institute at CWRU as affiliated faculty.