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Nearly $800,000 to go to UTSA earthquake resilience research

SAN ANTONIOFederal funding of $798,892 will go to the University of Texas at San Antonio to develop a new generation of computer simulation models that will characterize the impact of severe earthquake conditions on reinforced concrete columns, Rep. Joaquin Castro announced Tuesday.

The congressman said the grants are awarded through the Disaster Resilience Grants Research Program. It is aimed at advancing the principles of resilience in building design, 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,” Castro said. “UTSA’s research will help improve the resilience of vulnerable structures and enhance public safety.

The research will provide a new generation of tools to deliver engineering data that will help with decisions about enhancing seismic resilience, including projects focused on concrete columns, which provide the most critical threat during earthquakes, according to a news release.

The new tools will also apply to post-event recovery evaluations and provide data needed for the development of next-generation, performance-based seismic standards.

UTSA Interim Vice President for Research Dr. Bernard Arulanandam said the concrete-resilience research fits into the Smart Cities model, a worldwide effort to which UTSA is contributing.

"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,” Arulanandam said.

The research will help in reducing building rehabilitation costs, as well as costs associated with enhancing the resilience of concrete buildings.

The simulation tools will be calibrated with large datasets of column and shaking table tests. The data will be delivered to the structural engineering community through open-source simulation software.

"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,” Castro said.

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