The Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering has received a $3.8 million award from the National Science Foundation for a facility to increase the resilience of the nation’s coastal communities. 

Through the award, two main resources at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory will become part of a distributed, national program – the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure – that will provide the natural hazards engineering community with access to various research infrastructure, as well as educational and community outreach activities.

The resources at OSU will include the large wave flume and the directional wave basin, both of which simulate waves from hurricanes and tsunamis, and allow for a wide range of testing on both the built and natural environment. 

“This award will have a national impact for engineers, to develop innovative solutions to coastal disasters and improve the resilience of coastal communities to extreme events like hurricanes and tsunamis,” said Dan Cox, a civil and construction engineering professor in the College of Engineering, and principal investigator on the project.

The facility will allow researchers to understand hurricane waves and surges, tsunami hazards, and their impacts on roads, bridges, water supplies, and communication systems. It will also allow study of erosion effects, and help researchers develop and evaluate sustainable solutions to coastal hazards. 

The research will contribute to broader societal goals of reducing human suffering and economic damages, the scientists said, and speed the socioeconomic recovery following events such as hurricanes and tsunamis.

Co-investigators on the project include Pedro Lomonaco, director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, and Chris Higgins, the Cecil and Sally Drinkward Professor in Civil Engineering.