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Assistant Professor Michael Pollino Earns NSF Grant for Aging Infrastructure, Natural Disaster Research

Michael Pollino, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, recently secured a large grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “NEESR: Seismic Rehabilitation of Substandard Building Structures through Implementation of Stiff Rocking Cores.”

Pollino’s work brings significant expertise to a critical issue in the United States: problems of aging infrastructure coupled with natural disasters such as earthquakes. The NSF-funded research is to investigate a seismic rehabilitation technique for sub-standard multi-story buildings, which implements stiff rocking cores (SRC) and energy dissipating devices to enhance building performance during earthquakes. A stiff rocking core has the potential to re-distribute seismic forces along the core height creating a more uniform drift and ductility distribution while the added energy dissipation can reduce seismic demands and protect the sub-standard framing. 

The research includes advanced analytical models for calculation of building response during earthquakes and near full-scale experimental testing of a three-story building frame which is critical for understanding the interaction between the existing framing and SRC and for verifying implementation issues at or near full-scale.  The experimental testing uses a hybrid testing technique which includes synchronous computational modeling of the existing sub-standard framing and experimental testing of the SRC. 

The proposed research can potentially lead to transformation in seismic rehabilitation of building structures in areas of moderate and high seismicity using an approach that is expected to be a cost-effective and architecturally flexible.