SEAOSD April 9, 2019 Joint Dinner Meeting with EERI "UCSD Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table (LHPOST) and its Current Upgrade to Six Degrees-of-Freedom"

April 09, 2019
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Stone Brewery Point Loma
2816 Historic Decatur Rd. #116
San Diego, CA 92106

Joel P. Conte

Professor, University of California at San Diego, Department of Structural Engineering,
La Jolla, California, USA


Since its commissioning in 2004, the LHPOST has enabled the seismic testing of large structural, geostructural and soil-foundation-structural systems, with its ability to accurately reproduce far- and near-field ground motions. Over 30 landmark tests/projects have been conducted on the LHPOST as a national shared use NEES[1] and currently NHERI[2] equipment facility of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The LHPOST has the largest payload capacity in the world and ranks second in size after Japan’s E-Defense shake table. The tallest structures ever tested on a shake table were tested on the LHPOST, which is free from height restrictions. Experiments using the LHPOST generate essential knowledge that has greatly advanced seismic design practice and seismic response predictive capabilities for structural, geostructural, and nonstructural systems, leading to improved earthquake safety in the community overall. Indeed, the ability to test full-size structures has made it possible to physically validate the seismic performance of various systems that previously could only be studied at reduced scale or with computer models. However, the LHPOST’s current limitation of 1-DOF (uni-directional) input motion prevents the investigation of important aspects of the seismic response performance of 3-D structural systems. The LHPOST was originally conceived as a 6-DOF shake table but built as a single degree-of-freedom (1-DOF) system due to budget limitation. With a grant of $16.3M from the NSF and additional funds from UC San Diego, the LHPOST is currently being upgraded to six degrees-of-freedom capabilities. The design phase of the upgrade will be completed in June 2019 and installation of the upgrade will take place between September 2019 and February 2021.

Upgrade of the LHPOST to 6-DOFs will create a unique, large-scale, high-performance, experimental research facility that will enable research for the advancement of the science, technology and practice in earthquake engineering. Testing of infrastructure at large scale under realistic multiple components of ground shaking is essential to fully understand the seismic response behavior of civil infrastructure systems, develop, calibrate and validate predictive high-fidelity mathematical/computational models, and develop and verify effective methods for earthquake disaster mitigation and prevention. Research conducted using the upgraded LHPOST will improve design codes and construction standards and develop accurate decision-making tools necessary to build and maintain sustainable and disaster-resilient communities. Moreover, it will support the advancement of new and innovative materials, detailing, earthquake protective systems, seismic retrofit methods and construction methods.

This presentation will provide an overview of the LHPOST under its current 1-DOF capability and of some past landmark projects. It will describe the upgrade to six degrees-of-freedom. New seismic research and testing opportunities offered by the 6-DOF upgraded LHPOST will be discussed.

Views of the UC San Diego Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table (LHPOST)

Biosketch:  Joel Conte received his Civil Engineering Diploma (1985) from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and his M.S. (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego). Prior to joining UC San Diego in 2001, he held faculty positions at Rice University in Houston, Texas (1990-1997) and at UCLA (1998-2001). He is a member of the teaching body of the European School for Advanced Studies in Reduction of Seismic Risk (Rose School), Italy. His primary research interests and professional consulting activities are in structural analysis, structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, random vibrations, structural reliability and risk analysis, probabilistic performance-based analysis and design of structures, shake table dynamics and control, structural identification and health monitoring. He has published over 270 papers in international journals and conferences. He was Fulbright Scholar at the University “G. D’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara, Italy, in 2006-7, is the co-recipient of the 2009 Moisseiff Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and co-recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Earthquake Spectra Paper.

Dr. Conte has chaired the Dynamics Committee of the Engineering Mechanics Institute of ASCE. He served as Associate Editor of the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics and was a member of the editorial boards of Earthquake Spectra and Earthquakes & Structures. He is currently editorial board member of The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings, and the ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems. He is a Fellow of the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute.

Dr. Conte was part of the design team for the LHPOST. He was co-principal investigator of the NSF George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) large outdoor shake table facility at UC San Diego, is current Director of the Natural Hazard Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) shake table facility at UC San Diego and Principal Investigator of the NSF funded LHPOST upgrade project.

[1] Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation

[2] Natural Hazard Engineering Research Infrastructure


$35.00 SEAOSD Member Ticket

$20.00 SEAOSD Fellow / Honorary Member Ticket

$25.00 SEAOSD Life Member Ticket

$45.00 SEAOSD Non-Member Guest Ticket

$35.00 SEAOSD Member Guest Ticket

$15.00 SEAOSD Student Member Ticket

$40.00 SEAOSD Student Non-Member Ticket

$35.00 EERI Member Ticket

$0.00 SEAOSD Board of Directors Ticket