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Organization : About CUREE : Members
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

CUREE University Representative:

Professor Michael Symans
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
4044 Jonsson Engineering Center
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180
Tel.: 518.276.6938
Fax: 518.276.4833

CUREE Members:

• Tarek Abdoun
• Mohammed Alnaggar
• Ricardo Dobry
• Michael J. O’Rourke
• Michael D. Symans
• Shun Uchida
• Mourad Zeghal
• Thomas F. Zimmie


Rensselaer’s 150 g-ton Geotechnical Centrifuge

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s oldest technological research university, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, IT & web science, architecture, management, and the humanities, arts, and social sciences.  At Rensselaer, civil engineering has a long and distinguished history. In 1835, the Institute became the first U.S. school to issue a civil engineering degree. World-renowned Rensselaer civil engineering graduates include: Francis Collingwood, Jr. (1855), honored by the Collingwood Prize of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Washington Roebling (1857), builder of the Brooklyn Bridge; George Ferris (1881), designer of the Ferris wheel; and Ralph Peck (1934), co-author with Karl Terzaghi of the internationally-acclaimed book "Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice." Today, Rensselaer civil and environmental engineers continue to be found at all levels in both private and public sectors throughout the world.

Rensselaer civil and environmental engineers develop a full range of skills in design, analysis, fabrication, communication, management, and teamwork. Rensselaer’s civil and environmental engineering students are broadly trained and able to deal with the latest technologies. The growing panoply of sensors, instrumentation, intelligent facilities, and new materials highlights the high-tech character of the discipline, creating new educational challenges and redefining the skill set that civil and environmental engineers need to succeed.  

Rensselaer’s earthquake engineering research program focuses on both geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering to mitigate the negative impact of earthquakes on buildings, bridges, pipelines, dams and other components of the built infrastructure. It also focuses on analytical relationships that support post-earthquake decision-making and advances the state of the art in design codes, a key to future sustainability and durability. Major experimental testing equipment includes a 150 g-ton geotechnical centrifuge, the fourth largest in the U.S. and among the 20 largest in the world, which includes in-flight earthquake shaking capability and a robotic system for in-flight operations. In addition, a 1-g seismic shake table is available in the Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory (SDEEL).  Both the centrifuge and the shaking table are components of CEES (Center for Earthquake Engineering Simulation), a School of Engineering Interdisciplinary Research Center and one of the 15 experimental nodes of the national Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

For students interested in conducting research at the graduate level, Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees may be pursued.  In structural engineering, key areas of research interest include design and analysis of bridges, buildings, and other large-scale facilities for both man-made and natural hazards; development of advanced technologies for seismic protection; advanced modeling and analysis of structures for blast loading; and defining loads on structures, including snow, wind, and earthquake loading.  In geotechnical engineering, research focuses on the behavior of soils and foundations subjected to cyclic and dynamic loading; design methods to accommodate natural and man-made vibrations; geostochastics; soil dynamics, stability of earth slopes, structures, and dams; geoenvironmental engineering; landfill design; groundwater and groundwater contaminant transport; and geotechnical centrifuge modeling.  An emerging area of research is supply-chain management as it relates to disaster recovery. 



Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street
Jonsson Engineering Center, Rm. 4049
Troy, NY 12180-3590

Tel.: 518.276.6941

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Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
last updated 11.02.15