Structural Dynamics Research Lab

PKI 246

Located in room 246 at the Peter Kiewit Institute, the SDR Group is directed by Dr. Terri R. Norton, Associate Professor in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Constructions. SDR’s focus is to investigate and analyze the effects that dynamics loads can have on civil structures and to develop mitigation techniques to improve structural performance.

Research Interests
  • Structural Dynamics and Control
  • Multi-Hazard Vulnerability Analysis
  • Risk Identification and Management
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Sustainable Construction
  • Disaster Debris Management
  • Includes an UCIST instructional sized Shake Table II system from Quanser Consulting ( for demonstration of small experiments to assist with the instruction of structural dynamics and seismic design. In addition, it is used for K-12 outreach activities.
  • The bench-scale seismic simulator, has a 46 x 46 cm slip-table driven by a ball-screw mechanism with an operating frequency of 0-20Hz, a +/-7.6 cm stroke and a peak acceleration +/-1 g with an 11.3 kg payload.
  • Two passive building structures with accelerometers
  • Linear cart active mass driver
  • Webcam with tele-presence/ tele-operation package for participation with Network of Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) education and outreach.
  • Five computer stations equipped with finite element and dynamic analysis software (MATLAB/Simulink, WinCon, SAP 2000, ANSYS and LS-DYNA).

Using the Lab
Loading the quake table
In this image an engineering student is selecting the seismic data from historical earthquake to test the strength of his team's tower design.
Using SAP2000
Students use SAP 2000 to design and test their structures. Simulations provide an understanding of the forces applied to different areas of their building.
EERI Tower 2013
Rose Quail, a member of the University of Nerbaska–Lincoln Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), proudly showcases her team's 2013 tower used at the Seattle, WA EERI national competition.
building the EERI tower
Members of the EERI team spend countless hours designing, constructing, and testing their towers prior to the national competition. Here, team members patiently wait for the glue to dry.