Amr Elnashai, UH’s vice president of research, was invited to Vanderbilt University last week as a guest speaker in the Frank Parker Lecture Series, hosted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The Frank L. Parker Distinguished Lecture Series honors the life and accomplishments of Dr. Frank Parker, an internationally recognized expert and pioneer in nuclear waste remediation. Dr. Parker is credited with advising the United States and Russia on the clean-up of legacy radioactive waste produced during the Cold War, and the disposition of spent fuel generated by commercial nuclear reactors in the modern era.
An earthquake engineer, Elnashai discussed the impact of fires in urban areas following earthquake events and the load effect on buildings. Pointing to the Hyogo-Ken Nanbu (Kobe) earthquake in 1995 as an example, fires accounted for more damage and casualties than the earthquake itself. To further understand the load on buildings and the safety of the structure following such scenarios, Elnashai presented a physics-based model for ignition, spread and an earthquake-fire-aftershock structural analysis sequence of events that takes into account both inelastic dynamic and well as thermal analysis. An open-source advanced analysis tool called ZEUS-NL was presented. Applications to California and a heavily populated district of Istanbul, Turkey, demonstrated the models presented.
During Elnashai’s visit, he discussed with the Dean of Engineering Philippe Fauchet areas of mutual interest and the roles of strategy and implementation plans in academe. He also met with a number of faculty, vice provost for research Padma Raghavan, and newly hired professor Dan Work, who was Elnashai’s colleague at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Opportunities for collaboration will be further discussed.