Public Release: 

New center focuses on ways to enable buildings to withstand explosive blasts

Penn State

University Park, PA -- With the aid of a two-year, $3.51 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Penn State has established a Protective Technology Center to develop methods to insure the safety of U.S. government and military personnel and facilities under terrorist bomb threat.

Dr. Theodor Krauthammer, professor of civil engineering, is director of the new center. He is an internationally recognized specialist in the study of the survivability and fragility aspects of facilities subjected to blast, shock and impact. He is known for developing computer simulations of buildings subjected to explosive attack as well as for developing innovative structural detailings for buildings that are more resistant to explosion effects. He has also served a broad range of government agencies to develop methods to reduce the hazards associated with explosive attacks.

About 30 faculty members, technical support staff members, and students will be associated with the new center, which will be the largest of its type in the United States.

"We're going to perform research on a broad range of areas related to the problem, including issues related to blast, the behavior of buildings and materials, and computer simulations of pre and post explosive event building conditions," Krauthammer explains.

The Center team will also develop guidelines on how to design better facilities and how to retrofit existing buildings. Penn State already offers the only university-based training programs in the U.S. for engineers, architects, and others on how to use the new technology and will continue to do so through the new Center.

The Army contract will be administered through Penn State's Marine Corps Research University (MCRU). In 1999, Penn State was selected to be the exclusive research partner for the U.S. Marine Corps and designated the Marine Corps Research University. Penn State was selected because of the broad base of its research and education programs and because of its history of service to the military through its Applied Research Laboratory. Krauthammer's new Center is working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center in Vickesburg, Miss.

Currently, Mississippi State University and Jackson State University, a historically black university, have also received separate funding from the Corps to participate in an academic consortium with Penn State in this protective technology research effort.

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Andrea Elyse Messer
Public Information
January 10, 2001

Editors: Dr. Krauthammer is at 814-865-3102 or at tedk@psu.edu by email.

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