The PacTrans University Transportation Center recently released a five-minute video about a collaborative research/outreach project led by OSU CCE assistant professor David Hurwitz. The goal of the PacTrans outreach project featured in the video was to examine driver distraction among teenagers in the Pacific Northwest to identify tasks they consider to be distracting and compare that to their self-reported engagement in these same tasks while driving. The group, which includes members from all five PacTrans institutions, recently completed their first journal article, which has been accepted for publication.

During the video, Justin Neill, OSU MSCE ’14, is pictured operating the OSU driving simulator and Sarah McCrea, OSU second-year MS student, closes out the video.

OSU CCE alum David Linton (’10), currently a project engineer at Mackenzie, will be accepting the 2015 Raymond C. Reese Research Prize at the Structures Congress in Portland in April for the paper “Evaluation of Tsunami Loads on Wood-Frame Walls at Full Scale,” published in the Journal of Structural Engineering.

The project was conducted at the O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory as part of NSF’s NEES program. Co-authors include Prof. Rakesh Gupta in (College of Forestry), Prof. Dan Cox (College of Engineering), Prof. John van de Lindt (Colorado State University), Mary Beth Berkes (’10 Ocean Engineering), and Milo Clauson (College of Forestry).

This paper addresses tsunami loads on wood buildings through full-scale experimentation and is a crucial topic in the design of tsunami-prone structures, which has not received adequate attention in the field. The authors placed full-scale walls in a tsunami testing facility to investigate how a flexible structure performed when subjected to a solitary wave bore. The hydrodynamic conditions (water level and bore speed) and structural response (horizontal force, pressure, and deflection) were observed for a range of incident tsunami heights and for several wood wall framing configurations.

For each tsunami wave height tested, the force and pressure profiles showed a transient peak force followed by a period of sustained quasi-static force. The observed ratio of the transient force to quasi-static force was found to be close to 2.2. This value was compared with the measured forces with predictive equations from the literature and observed wood wall performance under such extreme loading. It was found that existing equations predicted the measured forces on the vertical wall within an accuracy of approximately 20%.

The study represents a significant step toward understanding the complex nature of wave structure interaction, particularly the performance of light-frame wood construction, which is commonly used around the world. Given the paucity of full-scale experimental data, the advances made by this paper are considered seminal and will most probably influence the field of tsunami engineering in the future.

The Raymond C. Reese Research Prize is awarded to the author or authors of a paper that describes a notable achievement in research related to structural engineering.

A computer algorithm detected this past landslide in the Stillaguamish Valley of Washington. recently highlighted research conducted at the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering with the discovery that algorithms could speed LiDAR assessments of landslide risks. An excerpt of the article appears below:

Created by researchers at Oregon State University and George Mason University, the Contour Connection Method (CCM) is based on lidar data and requires minimal user input. The developers say it can analyze and classify landslide risk in an area of 50 or more square miles in about 30 minutes, a task that would otherwise take an expert several weeks to months to complete. 

To view the complete article on, follow this link.