Earthquake Response and Rehabilitation of Critical Lifelines
To restore the health of these aging systems, special technologies have been developed to insert pipe linings, composed of polymers, into existing underground lifelines without digging them up and disrupting surrounding communities. This research will substantially improve the performance of underground lifelines during both earthquakes and daily use by investigating how polymeric linings improve their resistance to ground shaking and ground failure.
Project Activities @ Cornell
Project Activities @ Buffalo
Project Activities @ CSULA
For all released project data, documents and reports, please follow this link to the Project Warehouse section of NEEShub.
Login may be required.
The research involves a strong university-industry partnership with pipe lining companies, public utilities, and engineering firms. The testing capabilities at the Cornell NEES Site are ideally suited for simulating ground rupture effects on pipelines to reproduce upper bound conditions of deformation in the field. The dual shake table capabilities at the University at Buffalo NEES Site are uniquely qualified for simulating seismic wave interaction with pipelines, especially for replicating the critical condition of closely spaced weak joints and defects. Guided by full-scale simulations, computer models will be developed, including 3-D models of the composite pipeline, liner, and soil system. The intellectual merit of this award involves combing state-of-the-art, full-scale experiments with advanced computational procedures to develop and validate the next generation analytical models. These models will support design and construction to apply in situ lining technologies for seismic risk reduction as well as improve design and construction practices associated with liner rehabilitation of critical underground infrastructure. The research will also explore the use of flexible electronics to embed micro-sensors, and thus create "intelligence," in lining systems.
The broader impacts of this research can be appreciated by recognizing that for water and wastewater systems alone, there are more than 2.1 million km of pipelines throughout the US, with nearly half consisting of cast iron pipelines that are at least 50-100 years old. There is a strong need to rehabilitate aging, underground lifelines, especially those located in areas with seismic risk and constructed of brittle materials such as cast iron. The proposed research has the capacity to reduce utility system costs through the extension of pipeline service life with intelligent liners that increase earthquake resistance, thus enhancing public safety and creating new markets for the restoration of underground assets. Broader impacts of the research include an integrated educational program aimed at underrepresented students (both women and minority) at CSULA and work force development in coordination with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Two undergraduate courses at CSULA will be organized around the earthquake vulnerability and design of lifeline systems, with a major experimental component involving full-scale lined pipe tests at the CSULA instructional laboratory. At the same time, an annual short course will be given by project PIs at LADWP to address the seismic design of water supplies. Webinars will be presented through the NEES operations manager, NEEScomm, to convey both research findings and planning/design principles as developed through the annual short course, and videos of course lectures will be available at Cornell and UB NEES web sites. An integral part of the outreach activities involves industry collaboration and advice from practicing professionals to support technology transfer and disseminate research findings into engineering practice.
This award is an outcome of the NSF 09-524 program solicitation ''George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Research (NEESR)" competition and includes Cornell University (lead institution) and the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York and California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). This project will utilize the NEES equipment sites at Cornell University and University at Buffalo.
Data from this project will be archived and made available to the public through the NEES data repository. This award is part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).