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NSF Press Statement


NSF PA/M 01-36 - September 28, 2001

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

At WTC Site, New Federal Grants to Study Structural Engineering and Hazard Response

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 nationís buildings, utilities and other infrastructure during fires, earthquakes, explosions and other hazards. They will also be used to improve the nationís response to such threats.





  • 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.



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