August 08, 2017

Castro Announces $798K for UTSA Earthquake Resilience Research

San Antonio, TX – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced $798,892.00 of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to develop a new generation of computer simulation models that will characterize the impact of severe earthquake conditions on reinforced concrete columns. The grants are awarded through the Disaster Resilience (DR) Grants Research Program, which supports research aimed at advancing the principles of resilience in building design and building codes and standards. 
“The better equipped our buildings are to withstand natural disasters, the more lives will be saved and fewer rebuilding costs will be incurred,” said Rep. Castro. “UTSA’s research will help improve the resilience of vulnerable structures and enhance public safety. I’m glad that folks in areas prone to earthquakes will live safer lives thanks to the innovative work being done here in San Antonio.”
The research project focuses on concrete columns because they represent the most critical threat to seismic resilience and safety. The proposed simulation models will usher in a new generation of tools to deliver critical engineering data that enables informed decisions for enhancing seismic resilience. These tools will deliver quantifiable data for damage type and extent, for residual capacities applicable to post-event recovery evaluations, and for retrofitted capacities in support of retrofit decisions. These metrics will provide critical data needed for the development of the next generation of performance-based seismic standards. 
“Dr. Wassim Ghannoum’s concrete resilience research is not only vital but it also fits into the Smart Cities model, a worldwide effort in which UTSA is involved. Public institutions, government entities and private organizations are using data and technology to advance and refine the functionality of a city to improve the livability for all its residents,” added Dr. Bernard Arulanandam, Interim Vice President for Research, UTSA.
This research will be instrumental in reducing building rehabilitation costs and costs associated with enhancing the resilience of concrete buildings. The newly developed simulation tools will be calibrated using large datasets of column and shaking table tests, and will be delivered to the structural engineering community through open-source simulation software.