Research Proposal Development

Testing on the LHPOST6 can provide crucial data for developing and validating high fidelity computational models and decision-making design tools necessary to build and maintain sustainable and disaster-resilient communities. The data acquired from such landmark tests will enable calibration, validation, and improvement of (mechanics-based, physics-based) analytical and numerical models able to capture the seismic response behavior of civil infrastructure systems, accounting for these realistic and important effects. Research outcomes will impact both new construction and retrofit of existing infrastructure.

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Standard experimental protocols for the LHPOST6 have been developed to ensure that all technical program objectives are met on time and on budget, and that the project will be successfully and safely completed. The LHPOST6 builds on 10 years of very successful test programs for many government agencies and commercial businesses following these protocols. At the beginning of a test program, the research team, which includes the sponsor or user, PI, Co-PIs, students, and facility staff and Co-PIs responsible for Safety and Instrumentation, as applicable, meets to discuss the test objectives, the test and safety plan and the test schedule. Based on past experiences, appropriate suggestions are made to ensure that the test plan is compliant with the schedule and budget, and that Cal/OSHA requirements are met to satisfaction.

LHPOST6 staff will contact the PI and request that the input ground motions be provided four weeks before the project begins. Colored noise motions can be developed at the LHPOST6 at the request of the Project PI. This time is required to analyze the signals and check for compliance with the LHPOST6 physical limits, including the velocity, stroke and swept displacement. Modifications are suggested where appropriate. Then, upon completion of the previous project, and when the LHPOST6 table platen is bare, the LHPOST6 operator will train the controller to minimize the error between the target and achieved table motions. When tests are being conducted, and only under the approval of the LHPOST6 PI, modifications are made to the command signal. Sometimes such changes are made when testing heavy payloads that show distinct nonlinear response causing a shift in the oil-column frequency.

For every project conducted at the facility, LHPOST6 personnel will work with the PI in charge to develop a project management plan and proper testing protocol. A sample process for a typical project is described below and will require constant communication with LHPOST6 and the NHERI NCO.

  1. Receive a request to perform a project.
  2. Meet in person or via video conference with PI about project and scope of work.
  3. Review PI research proposal to feasibility of tests utilizing the LHPOST6 facilities. Iterate on issues with project PI such as special safety measures, whether the specimen should be constructed on the table or constructed as subcomponents off the table and assembled on the table, required input motions, attachment of the specimen to the table, construction equipment available on site (including recharge rates) vs. equipment that should be rented, suggestions for local contractors and contact information, instrumentation plan (number and type of sensors to be provided by LHPOST6 and compatibility with the DAQ system of any special sensors brought by the project PI), testing plan, special safety measures during final testing stage (controlled collapse, instrumentation recovery, payment for lost instrumentation), and suggestions for local contractors for demolition and material removal (the PI will contact all contractors and cover construction/demolition costs on a separate contract paid by the PI directly).
  4. Discuss the schedule after all clarifications about the project scope are made. The PI generates an initial project schedule that is reviewed and modified based on facility staff experience.
  5. During construction and demolition, provide labor and equipment at pre-established recharge rates. Facility staff will work with the PI’s home institution on contracts and fiscal management. Each project will be assigned an index number and charged for appropriate expenditures with PI approval.
  6. Provide training and safety rules to all students, contractors, etc. Provide special instructions to LHPOST6 staff related to the project.
  7. Inform the PI that LHPOST6 should be kept abreast of any media related activities, which should be conducted in collaboration with the Jacobs School of Engineering Communications and Media Relations group.
  8. Provide quick data analyses in order to make decisions related to the testing protocol. Provide data format in advance so project researchers can write their own software to analyze the data if they choose. Provide designated on-site project contact person with data at the end of each testing day.
  9. Track the schedule and proactively inform the PI about possible delays, costs and suggested methods to mitigate project overruns.