Gannon Engineering Professor Wins PITA Grant

Posted: February 20, 2015

A Gannon University engineering professor has received a $10,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA) to study liquid silicon rubber (LSR) dampers, which are used in buildings to protect from earthquakes and high winds.

Robert Michael, Ph.D., P.E., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received the grant, which will fund development of real-time hybrid simulation methods to study the performance of structural systems with passive dampers.

LSR dampers are a newer version of a second-generation material that was developed by Gannon University, Lehigh University and Corry Rubber Corporation in a previous PITA-sponsored study. The current grant, according to Michael, is a continuation of that collaboration.

The grant will partially support a graduate research assistant and an undergraduate student to become trained in performance-based design, conducting nonlinear time history analysis, real-time testing and the application of passive dampers.

The grant will also fund the purchase of updated hardware for the University's SATEC materials testing machine, which will allow Michael and the students to test various elastomeric building dampers and material samples.

"Over the years, I've had students tell me that working on research and industrial projects was the most important part of their education," Michael said. "This grant will allow me to provide that opportunity to several Gannon students."