Sustainable Functional Recovery: A New Engineering Design Paradigm

On NHERI’s DesignSafe Radio podocast, Oregon State University researcher Andre Barbosa provides an overview of the NHERI Converging Design project


April 18, 2024, West Lafayette, IN – The NSF-funded NHERI Converging Design project merges post-earthquake functional recovery with sustainability. Oregon State University engineer and project PI Andre Barbosa joined Dan Zeher on the DesignSafe Radio podcast to discuss this milestone effort to understand the behavior of mass-timber structures. Testing took place at the NHERI at UC San Diego, on the LHPOST shake table.

Components tested include U-shaped flexural plates (UFPs), which can deform and dissipate energy – and with post-tensioning rods, recenter. Also, the team is testing buckling restrained braces, which function like replaceable “structural fuses.” Lastly, the project examined traditional steel moment frames coupled with braced frames that include energy dissipating (“yielding”) fuse-like elements. These tests will guide the future of resilient structural design in earthquake-prone regions.

Envisioned results include building code updates and new building products. Other tangible outcomes: successful industry-academia partnerships – and a cohort of engineering students who will take lessons about sustainable functional recovery into the future.

Andre Barbosa, Functional Recovery Research on DesignSafe Radio

Full episode, 35:11 minutes – April 11, 2024

Barbosa explains post-tensioning to DesignSafeRadio host Dan Zehner.


Barbosa welcomes listeners curious about sustainable design to contact or visit to the Tallwood Design Institute, located on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

Collaborative Research: Converging Design Methodology: Multi-objective Optimization of Resilient Structural Spines, NSF Award #2120683.

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Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure – NHERI – is a national network of university-centered experimental facilities. NHERI facilities are dedicated to reducing damage and loss-of-life due to natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, windstorms, wildfires, tsunamis and storm surge. The NHERI network provides researchers in the natural hazards engineering and social science communities with state-of-the-art tools, data, and training needed to meet the research challenges of the 21st century. NHERI is supported by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation.