Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SEI Professional Seminar Series

Damage-Resistant Steel Structural Systems for Seismic Applications

From a seismic standpoint, standard structures are designed for “life safety” performance under the design-basis earthquake, and are expected (and intended!) to exhibit damage to structural elements, often resulting in significant post-earthquake repair costs and/or large residual drifts (which may lead to demolition rather than repair). Essentially, standard structural design sacrifices the structure to save the occupants (which is, to be fair, an admirable goal).

In recent years, however, there has been a significant research push to improve the way that structures are designed for earthquake resistance. Rather than tell building owners that they will have astronomical repair costs after an earthquake, structural systems can be specialized (at a premium construction cost) to accommodate large lateral drifts while suffering damage only to specific, replaceable, specially-designed fuse elements.

This presentation will focus on the continued development of the self-centering concentrically braced frame (SC-CBF) system that Dr. Roke worked to develop and test during his PhD study at Lehigh University. Dr. Roke will present his work toward advancements in the knowledge base of SC-CBF response and behavior, as well as studies that have branched from the original concept.


David Roke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Dr. Roke received his BSCE in 2003 and MSCE in 2005, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Roke received his PhD in Structural Engineering in September 2010 from Lehigh University. Dr. Roke’s research interests include earthquake engineering, structural dynamics, and steel structural systems. Dr. Roke teaches Introduction to Mechanics of Solids, Engineering Materials Laboratory, Steel Design, Dynamics of Structures, Advanced Analysis of Steel Structural Members, and Earthquake Engineering.

CEE undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to attend the seminar.

Light refreshments will be served at 1:00 pm.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Third Annual Half-Day Structural Engineering Seminar

We invite you to attend our 3rd annual half-day structural engineering seminar, sponsored by SEI Lehigh Valley Chapter, ASCE Lehigh Valley Section, and SEI Lehigh University Graduate student chapter.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 11:45AM to 5:00PM
Lehigh University ATLSS Building – 117 ATLSS Drive, Bethlehem, PA Mountaintop Campus – Room B101
$30.00 per attendee - free for SEI Lehigh University Graduate Chapter Students and FERS Students


“50 Tips for Designing Constructible Steel Framed Structures”
Clifford Schwinger, P.E.
“Geotechnical Aspects of the American Parkway Project”
Kerri Cutright, P.E.
Refreshment and Networking Break
“Strengthening of Church Tower Abutments Using Cementitious Grouted Stainless Rods”
Tom Gormley & Anthony Stevens
“The Great Molasses Flood in Boston – an Ethics Discussion”
Eric Tappert, P.E.

Session Information

SESSION 1 – 50 Tips for Designing Constructible Steel Framed Structures

This seminar will review 50 practical and easy to implement tips that designers can use to improve the constructability and reduce the cost of steel framed building structures. Illustrations and examples comparing constructible and “constructability challenged” details are used to show how seemingly little changes in connection details and framing configurations significantly improve constructability and reduce cost.

Clifford Schwinger, P.E. is a Vice President and Quality Assurance Manager at The Harman Group, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Lehigh University in 1976, serves on the AISC Manuals Committee and has over 30 years of experience designing building structures.

SESSION 2 – Geotechnical Aspects of the American Parkway Project

In this presentation, we will discuss the geotechnical aspects of the American Parkway project currently under construction in the city of Allentown.  This is a partial design / build project to construct a new four-lane, controlled access road from its current terminus at Front Street to Airport Road.  The new facility will provide much improved access from the City of Allentown to the Lehigh Valley International Airport.  The project includes two new bridge structures, one crossing the Lehigh River and Norfolk Southern Railroad and one crossing R.J. Corman Railroad and Jordan Street.  While in construction, the project has encountered many geotechnical challenges.  Pier 1 and Pier 2, originally designed to be spread footings on rock were redesigned to be drilled shafts.  Pier 4 encountered difficulties driving piles.  Low mobility grouting for an MSE wall foundation also experienced issues.  This presentation will go over these geotechnical issues and touch on other aspects of the bridge. 

Kerri Cutright, P.E., received both her Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.  Kerri joined PennDOT District 5-0 in 2011 as a Civil Engineer Trainee and is now a Senior Civil Engineer Supervisor and serves as the district’s Geotechnical and PavementK Engineer.  While at PennDOT, Kerri has designed box culverts, repairs for failed wingwalls, and pavements for many resurfacing projects.  She has provided geotechnical support to Berks, Lehigh and Northampton County Maintenance for the repair of sinkholes along PennDOT Right-of-Way.   Kerri also served as project manager for bridge replacement and landslide projects.  Kerri also provides geotechnical construction support for various projects in District 5-0, including American Parkway.

SESSION 3 - Strengthening of Church Tower Abutments Using Cementitious Grouted Stainless Rods

The presentation will discuss a case study on the stabilization of a 1911 stone masonry bell tower through the use of internal grouted sock anchors installed to resist the counterforce thrust.

Thomas Gormley is the Manager of Restoration at Pullman SST, Inc.  in Swedesboro, NJ.  Tom has 24 years of experience in the Building Restoration market.   He graduated from Temple University Engineering in 1990.  Started working for Shared Systems Technology, Inc. in 2001.  Shared System Technology, Inc. was renamed in 2014 to Pullman SST, Inc. – A Structural Group Company.  Involvement with all types of Masonry, Historical and Concrete Restoration Projects.  Responsibilities included Business Development and Head Estimator for the Commercial Restoration Division – Philadelphia Branch. 
Anthony Stevens is a Technical Sales Consultant with Cintec America Inc. and has over 16 years’ experience in the commercial building trades industry and with working alongside Engineers, Architects and Contractors, to achieve the desired result.

SESSION 4 – The Great Molasses Flood in Boston – an Ethics Discussion

The 15th of January in 1916 was a lovely, sunny, day in Boston as the “January thaw” arrived.  Just about noon a full  50 million gallon tank of molasses failed catastrophically unleashing a wave of molasses down Commercial Street; taking out buildings, part of the elevated railroad, horses, and people.  This case study in ethics examines the construction of the tank and the motivations of those in responsible charge in an effort to explain why this disaster occurred.  The relationship between the actions of those in charge and the standard of care will also be examined.

Eric Tappert, PE received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (1969) and his Master of Science in Telecommunications from the University of Colorado (1998.)  Eric’s career included working on the Safeguard Anti-Ballistic Missile System with responsibility for maintenance and development of the multi-processor computer system; design work for cell site equipment used in the Bell System service trial of cellular telephony. In 1979 he came to the Western Electric Plant in Allentown to perform application and integrated circuit definition work. He contributed to several long distance transmission and switching improvement programs. Since his retirement in 2002, in he has done some consulting work in the area of communication system design and has been an adjunct faculty member of the Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus, teaching electrical engineering technology courses.  He currently is serving as PSPE President.