University of Nebraska civil engineers sift through Cather Pound demolition data

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Demolition crews are still at work -- but inside University of Nebraska labs, nearly a terabyte of data is helping civil engineers on campus build safer, more resilient buildings.

Assistant professor for civil engineering, Richard Wood, said, "This data is really helping us understand the collapse sequence of these two dormitory buildings."

Back in December, a team of civil engineers at the University of Nebraska used nearly four miles of wiring inside Cather and Pound halls to record information. Now, those wires and sensors are giving them a sweet return.

Yijum Liao is a civil engineering graduate student. She said, "We can predict what kind of performance is going to happen."

Richard Wood is one engineer on the research team. He says this information will help engineers understand how buildings like Cather and Pound will behave in things like earthquakes, severe weather and even collisions into these structures.

Wood said the most surprising statistic so far is when the building initially fell down.

"The components impacted each other and produced extremely large forces...and these force values have exceeded 50 times the force of gravity," Wood said.

Wood said the next steps in research is analyzing the sequence of charges set off by the multiple sticks of dynamite inside the buildings.

It is estimated there are a few more months to go over all of the data, but the demolition site should be cleaned up this week, according to the University of Nebraska.