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Enhancement of the Safety of Structures under Extreme Events

One of the major challenges facing the civil engineering community is to reduce the risk of catastrophic damage due to the extreme loads and enhance the resiliency of urban infrastructure. Experimental testing of large-scale structures is the most reliable means to assess and improve the resilience and performance of structural systems under extreme loads. The development and use of advanced cyber-physical systems, has paved the way to enhance the existing experimental methods in a suitable and cost-effective manner. Hybrid simulation is an innovative cyber-physical testing technique in which computational models and physical components are integrated at run-time. This method overcomes many of the limitations of conventional shaking table tests while using similar equipment used for quasi-static testing. A state-of-the-art hybrid testing facility, referred to as the Multi-Axis Substructure Testing (MAST) system, has been designed, assembled and validated that is capable of simulating the complex three-dimensional time-varying boundary effects on large-scale structural components. The MAST system is unique in Australasia and is capable to serve the research community and practice, nationally and internationally. The paper presents versatile capabilities of the MAST system that will greatly advance the current state of knowledge in large-scale experimental testing.