The NEES @ UCSD LHPOST is part of the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center (ESEC). In addition to the NEES @ UCSD shake table, the Englekirk Center houses a Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction (SFSI) facility, funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and a Blast Simulator, funded by the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG). These facilities are described in more detail below.
The site has restricted access and has ample room for the simultaneous construction and instrumentation of multiple test specimens before placement on the shake table. Hotel and dining services for visiting researchers are available within 1 mile of the site. Networking capabilities are available via the 45Mbps High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN). In addition, a fiber-based service provides 1.25 Gbps seamless connectivity between the UCSD local area network including the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the ESEC facility. All utilities at the site have been designed for future upgrades. Electrical power service is at a level of 1000kVA.
The NEES @ UCSD Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table is capable of creating realistic simulations of the most devastating earthquakes ever and has no height restrictions, thus enabling structural tests which have never been possible before. The facility is part of the National Science Foundation's George E. Brown, Jr. NEES program. The facility adds a significant new dimension and capabilities to existing United States testing facilities with no overhead space and lifting constraints.
The Englekirk Structural Engineering Center includes the nation's largest facility for testing soil-structure reactions to earthquakes and other natural disasters, such as hurricanes. The facility is funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). It includes a refillable soil pit, laminar soil shear box, and a moveable reaction wall. The soil pit, which enables controlled testing of deep foundations, has dimensions of 70 ft by 70 ft at the top and 30 ft by 30 ft at the bottom. Soil can be placed in controlled conditions and removed after testing which makes it relatively easy to examine structural elements below ground. The moveable reaction wall with actuators allows for full-scale testing of systems such as bridge abutments and pile foundations under static loading conditions. It consists of 4 blocks; each with a length of 19 ft, a width of 9 ft, and a depth of 4 ft. The refillable soil pit and reaction wall are capable of horizontally loading abutments with 500 to 1000 kips force and up to 4 feet of displacement at heights of 10 to 15 feet. These specifications allow for up to half-scale abutment tests at this facility. With these unique capabilities, researchers are able to tailor soil properties to simulate conditions in specific geographic locations, and to analyze soil related phenomena caused by earthquakes such as liquefaction and lateral spreading.
The laminar soil shear box can be placed directly on the LHPOST shake table and provides the capability for representing in-situ soil conditions for soil-structure interaction experiments.
Recent and continuing terrorist attacks on our building and transportation infrastructure have clearly demonstrated the need to develop and implement blast mitigation and hardening optimization methodologies to protect our interests both at home and overseas. To address these issues, UCSD and funding agency Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) have developed the world's first hydraulic-based simulator to simulate full scale explosive loads without the use of live explosive materials. The simulator is performing fully repeatable, controlled blast load simulations on critical structural elements such as columns, beams, girders, and walls, to characterize the progressive collapse of these structural components and systems when subject to local or short standoff distance charges. It is also being used to investigate the response of bridge components such as decks, piers, and towers to simulated short standoff explosive loads. The blast simulator also simulates longer standoff explosive loads that create debris fields from potentially lethal non-structural components such as windows, masonry walls, and curtain walls. Blast simulator data are validated by comparison with field test data and used in the validation of computational physics models. New and existing blast retrofit designs including commercial off the shelf technologies and fiber reinforced polymer composites are being investigated. Standard test protocols are being developed for product validation.