Geotechnical and Earthquake Engineering with Emphasis on Cold Regions Issues

Bridge with Frost EffectsUAA has an active research program in the areas of geotechnical, structural earthquake engineering, and engineering seismology.  Our research objective is to develop fundamental understandings of engineering structure responses with particular focus on Alaska’s tectonic and climatic setup including earthquakes, cold temperature, frozen soils (seasonally frozen soil and permafrost) and snow/ice. Our research approach is to investigate these effects by carrying out experimental studies/field testing and provide recommendations for accounting these effects in the design of civil engineering structures.  Our research encompass (1) In-situ monitoring of structures, (2) ground motion and structural modeling, (3) field testing of prototype structures/facilities, and (4) laboratory experiments.  Current projects include:

  • Strong-motion instrumentation and data analyses of downhole arrays, buildings and bridges, free-field sites
  •  Effect of load history on performance limit of bridge columns
  • Nonlinear finite element analysis of structures
  • Impact of frozen soils on the seismic site responses
  • Liquefiable soil-pile-structure interaction in cold regions
  • De-icing of pavement

Contact Professors Z. Joey Yang, Utpal Dutta, Bart Quimby and Helen Liu for more details.


Seismic Performance and Design of Pile Foundations in Cold Regions

Dr. Zhaohui (Joey) Yang in collabortion with visiting professor Runlin Yang from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, former MSCE graduate student Qiang Li now Ph.D student at Purdue University, and graduate student Xiaoyu Zhang are currently evaluating seismic performance and design of pile foundations in cold regions. The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Gain in-depth understanding of the impact of a frozen crust to a typical bridge foundation such as, steel-pipe pile and drilled shaft, embedded in a liquifiable soil later overlying competent soils during earthquakes
  2. Evaluate the loads on the bridge foundation imposed by a frozen crust
  3. Recommend guidelines for considering these loads by using simplified pseudo-static approach (p-y approach)

This project started July 1, 2010 and will end December 31, 2012. It currently takes place in Anchorage, AK where the Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Laboratory is located and Beijing, China.

Click here for video footage of the seismic shake-table experiments conducted at China's Beijing University of Technology!


Frozen Soil Lateral Resistance for the Seismic Design of Highway Bridge Foundations

Dr. Zhaohui (Joey) Yang, in collaboration with Dr. Anthony Paris and graduate students Xiaoxuan Ge, Ben Still, and Donald Richardson are working together to produce the key mechanical parameters for constructing the lateral resistance curves for typical frozen soils in Alaska for the use in the seismic design of highway bridge foundations by conducting laboratory experiments.

This project takes place in Anchorage, AK from August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 and utilizes the Frozen Ground Engineering Laboratory, Civil Engineering Cold Room, and Paul B. Crews MTS Laboratory all located in the UAA School of Engineering.


Automatic Electrical De-icing/Anti-icing System using Embedded Carbon Fiber Heating Panel

UAA DeicingDr. Zhaohui (Joey) Yang in collaboration with Professor Gangbing Song of the University of Houston along with Graduate students Xiaoxuan Ge, Ben Still, and Xiaoyu Zhang all of UAA, and Mithun Singla, Christiana Chang, and Devindra Patil all from the University of Houston are utilizing an outdoor testing facility built on the UAA campus to develop and test the feasibility, effectiveness and structural integrity of an innovative de-icing technology based on carbon fiber tape for applications in the transportation system.

The research will take place from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012 in Anchorage, AK and Houston, TX.

To acces a webcam to view the testing facility please visit:
Password: uaa123456