Experimental Protocol


Standard experimental protocols for the LHPOST have been developed to ensure that all technical program objectives are met on time and on budget, and that the project will be successfully and safely completed. The UCSD NHERI EF builds on ten years of very successful test programs for many government agencies and commercial businesses following these protocols. At the beginning of a test program, the research team, which includes the sponsor or user, PI, Co-PIs, students, and facility staff and Co-PIs responsible for Safety and Instrumentation, as applicable, meets to discuss the test objectives, the test and safety plan and the test schedule. Based on past experiences, appropriate suggestions are made to ensure that the test plan is compliant with the schedule and budget, and that Cal/OSHA requirements are met to satisfaction.

UCSD EF staff will contacts the PI and requests that the input ground motions be provided 4 weeks before the project begins. Colored noise motions can be developed at the EF at the request of the Project PI. This time is required to analyze the signals and check for compliance with the LHPOST physical limits, including the velocity, stroke and swept displacement. Modifications are suggested where appropriate. Then, upon completion of the previous project, and when the LHPOST table platen is bare, the LHPOST operator will train the controller to minimize the error between the target and achieved table motions. When tests are being conducted, and only under the approval of the EF PI, modifications are made to the command signal. Sometimes such changes are made when testing heavy payloads that show distinct nonlinear response causing a shift in the oil-column frequency.

For every project conducted at the facility, NHERI@UC San Diego personnel will work with the PI in charge to develop a project management plan and proper testing protocol. A sample process for a typical project is described below and will require constant communication with NHERI@UC San Diego and the NHERI NCO.

  1. Receive a request to perform a project.
  2. Meet in person or via video conference with PI about project and scope of work.
  3. Review PI research proposal to feasibility of tests utilizing the NHERI@UCSD facilities. Iterate on issues with project PI such as special safety measures, whether the specimen should be constructed on the table or constructed as subcomponents off the table and assembled on the table, required input motions, attachment of the specimen to the table, construction equipment available on site (including recharge rates) vs. equipment that should be rented, suggestions for local contractors and contact information, instrumentation plan (number and type of sensors to be provided by NHERI@UCSD and compatibility with the DAQ system of any special sensors brought by the project PI), testing plan, special safety measures during final testing stage (controlled collapse, instrumentation recovery, payment for lost instrumentation), and suggestions for local contractors for demolition and material removal (the PI will contact all contractors and cover construction/demolition costs on a separate contract paid by the PI directly).
  4. Discuss the schedule after all clarifications about the project scope are made. The PI generates an initial project schedule that is reviewed and modified based on facility staff experience.
  5. During construction and demolition, provide labor and equipment at pre-established recharge rates. Facility staff will work with the PI’s home institution on contracts and fiscal management. Each project will be assigned an index number and charged for appropriate expenditures with PI approval.
  6. Provide training and safety rules to all students, contractors, etc. Provide special instructions to NHERI@UCSD staff related to the project.
  7. Inform the PI that NHERI@UCSD should be kept abreast of any media related activities, which should be conducted in collaboration with the Jacobs School of Engineering Communications and Media Relations group.
  8. Provide quick data analyses in order to make decisions related to the testing protocol. Provide data format in advance so project researchers can write their own software to analyze the data if they choose. Provide designated on-site project contact person with data at the end of each testing day.
  9. Track the schedule and proactively inform the PI about possible delays, costs and suggested methods to mitigate project overruns.

Those preparing a proposal to use the NHERI@ UC San Diego equipment facility, should consult the Workshops tab for useful information regarding project planning and execution as documented from past test programs.