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Professor Hajjar Receives Popular Mechanics Award

October 15, 2010

Jerome F. Hajjar, Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named a recipient of a 2010 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, which recognizes the products and innovators that truly moved society forward in 2010. Hajjar and Prof. Gregory Deierlein from Stanford University received the award for developing a new structural system that helps buildings withstand large earthquakes. Known as the rocking frame seismic engineering system, it employs a design that allows the building frame to rock without shearing, with replaceable steel "fuses" that absorb most of an earthquake's energy. The system also includes tensile steel cables that pull the building to its plumb, upright position once an earthquake ends. Hajjar and his colleagues designed the system as a National Science Foundation Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation research project. By dramatically reducing the risk of catastrophic damage and by facilitating quick repairs through replaceable steel fuses, the system minimizes building downtime and the associated disruption following severe earthquakes. The system also improves sustainability by minimizing the environmental impacts of post-disaster reconstruction and by creating more resilient communities. This project is featured in the November 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics.