At WTC site, new federal grants to study structural enginerring and hadard response

September 28, 2001

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded eight grants this week to engineering and social science researchers to conduct post-disaster assessments at the terrorist attack sites. The university-based teams will use the federal funds to collect and analyze data on structural engineering and damage assessment while debris is being removed. They will also analyze the emergency response and management.

The data will be used in engineering studies to help improve the structural integrity of the nation's buildings, utilities and other infrastructure during fires, earthquakes, explosions and other hazards. They will also be used to improve the nation's response to such threats.
A description of the awards is attached.

For more information contact: Amber Jones 703-292-8070/

NSF is an independent federal agency which supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of about $4.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states, through grants to about 1,800 universities and institutions nationwide. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards.

Receive official NSF news electronically through the e-mail delivery system, NSFnews. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to In the body of the message, type "subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name. (Ex.: "subscribe nsfnews John Smith")

Attachment: NSF Quick Response Research Awards


· Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, University of California at Berkeley, and a colleague are collecting data on the mechanical and structural properties of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers, particulary steel affected by heat, fire and impact.

· David Bloomquist, University of Florida, leads a team at the WTC and Pentagon using a new land-based laser system to produce high-resolution 3-D "maps" of the interior and exterior of damaged buildings, particularly identifying displacements and cracks (images available).

· J. David Frost, Georgia Institute of Technology, and his team are collecting data on structural damage at the WTC, using handheld technology recently developed to quickly collect data after earthquakes. The equipment includes a GPS, digital camera and handheld computer.

· John Harrald, George Washington University, and colleagues aim to study the coordination and communications of emergency, medical, law enforcement and military responders.

· George Lee, State University of New York at Buffalo, and others from the NSF-supported Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research are assessing the damage to buildings surrounding the WTC and the response of hospitals and other emergency services (see

· Dennis Mileti, University of Colorado at Boulder, is coordinating the travel of quick response teams from the NSF-supported Natural Hazards Research Application and Information Center (see http://www.Colorado.EDU/hazards).

· Frederick W. Mowrer, University of Maryland, is studying the performance of fire protection materials and systems during the fires and collapse of the WTC towers.

· William A. Wallace, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, leads a team studying infrastructure interdependence, such as how power loss affects control systems, and ways to mitigate and respond to failures.

National Science Foundation

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