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Directorate for Engineering
Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems

The Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems (CMS) supports research that contributes to the knowledge base and intellectual growth in the areas of infrastructure construction and management, geotechnology, structures, dynamics and control, mechanics and materials, sensing for civil and mechanical systems, and the reduction of risks induced by earthquakes and other natural and technological hazards.

The CMS Division encourages cross-disciplinary partnerships at the intersections of traditional disciplines. These partnerships promote discoveries using technologies such as autoadaptive systems, nanotechnology, and information technology to enable revolutionary advances in the Nation's civil and mechanical systems.

1. Dynamic System Modeling, Sensing, and Control (DSMSC)

Supports research on the fundamental engineering concepts and mathematical theories for modeling, analysis, simulation, and control of complex nonlinear dynamic systems, including the study of new control methods, acoustics, vibrations, and kinematics relationships. DSMSC invests in research on information technology as related to smart and autoadaptive civil and mechanical systems, including the study of new technologies for sensing and acquiring information; multiple and intelligent system functionality; integration of sensors, actuators, controllers, and power sources; and modeling, synthesis, simulation, and prototyping of intelligent systems and their components.

2. Geotechnical and Geohazards Systems (GGS)

Seeks to advance the fundamental engineering and related knowledge for geostructures—foundations, slopes, excavations, soil and rock improvement technologies, and reinforcement systems; geohazards mitigation; constitutive modeling and verification; remediation and containment of geo-environmental contamination; transferability of laboratory results to field scale; and nondestructive and in situ evaluation. GHS support is given for research that will increase the geotechnical and geohazards knowledge necessary to mitigate the impacts of natural and technological hazards in both constructed and natural environments. A broad spectrum of research is supported, including the use of data from laboratory and field experiments to develop and validate innovative designs and methodologies; the application of new sensing and information technologies to the simulation of complex phenomena; and the collection of data from catastrophic events including deployment of rapid-response reconnaissance.

3. Infrastructure and Information Systems (IIS)

Supports research to develop new science bases necessary for developing and deploying advanced information systems and technologies required to sustain the Nation's infrastructure. IIS research affects infrastructure system design, construction, maintenance, and operation and control. It includes networking technology, Internet-based data systems, voice and data communications technologies, and geographical information systems-based multimedia global infrastructure information systems. The IIS Program is also interested in systems and network approaches to infrastructure management and life-cycle engineering, integrated systems behavior and network simulation, hazard preparedness and response, societal and economic impacts, decision theory, intelligent systems and engineering (life-cycle design), and conceptual and theoretical bases of scalable enterprise for civil systems construction and management.

4. Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering (SMME)

Links the expertise of analytical, computational, and experimental solid mechanics and biomechanics with materials and surface engineering to understand, characterize, analyze, design, and control the mechanical properties and performance of materials and devices. SMME supports research on the deformation, fracture, fatigue, friction, wear, and corrosion of all types of materials, including composites, nanostructured materials, construction materials, and coatings and surface modification for service under extreme conditions. The program also supports experimental and analytical investigations and simulation modeling of material microstructures and their connections to nano-, meso-, and macroscale structural behavior.

5. Structural Systems and Engineering (SSE)

Emphasizes new discoveries in the design, construction, repair, rehabilitation, upgrade, and maintenance of structural materials and systems. SSE supports research that will advance the knowledge base on the application of advanced polymer materials and high-performance steel and concrete materials, durability of construction materials, soil structure interaction, safety and reliability of bridges and other structures including applications of condition assessment to structural systems, and integrated building systems. Also of interest is research that will lead to improved understanding of the impact of extreme events on the performance of the constructed environment and on interactions between natural and constructed environments.

6. NSF George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES)

Funded under the NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Account, NEES is authorized for a construction period of 5 years through September 30, 2004, for a total NSF contribution of $81.8 million. The goal of NEES is to provide a national networked collaboratory of geographically distributed shared-use, next-generation experimental research equipment sites. The sites will be equipped with teleobservation and teleoperation capabilities that will transform the environment for earthquake engineering research and education through collaborative and integrated experimentation, computation, theory, database, and model-based simulation. The goal is to improve the seismic design and performance of U.S. civil and mechanical infrastructure systems. When the construction is completed, the NEES consortium will operate the NEES collaboratory through the year 2014.

The NEES collaboratory will include 15 to 20 equipment sites (shake tables, centrifuges, tsunami wave basin, large-scale laboratory experimentation systems, and field experimentation and monitoring installations) networked together through a high performance Internet. In addition to providing access for telepresence at the NEES equipment sites, the network will use cutting-edge tools to link high performance computational and data storage facilities, including a curated repository for experimental and analytical earthquake engineering and related data. The network will also provide distributed physical and numerical simulation capabilities and resources for visualization of experimental and computed data. For further information, visit the program’s Web site,

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