Michael O’Rourke

Michael O’Rourke
Name: Michael O’Rourke
Department Civil and Environmental Engineering
School Engineering
Center Center for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (CEES)
Bio Lifeline Earthquake Engineering:

* Wave propagation effects on buried pipe
* Permanent ground deformation effects on buried pipe
* Centrifuge testing of buried pipe
* Fragility relations for above ground tanks

Seismic Response of Buried Pipeline: Earthquake damage to buried lifelines such as water, sewer and natural gas lines can be caused by either wave propagation or Permanent Ground Deformation (PGD). Research on both these topics is on-going at Rensselaer. This includes an analytical evaluation of the relationship between seismic damage (repairs per kilometer of pipe) and ground strain, as well as numerical and centrifuge evaluation of buried pipe subject to abrupt PGD at a fault crossing or the margin of a lateral spread. The 1999 MCEER Monograph by O’Rourke and Liu entitled “Response of Buried Pipeline Subject to Earthquake Effects”provide background information and a summary for the topic. An updated Buried Pipeline Monograph is expected early in 2011.

Snow Loading on Roofs:

* Ground Snow Loads
* Drift loads on stepped roofs
* Drift loads on gable roofs
* Eave icing

Snow and Ice Loads on Buildings: Snow loading is a structural design consideration for roofs in most states and the controlling load for at least some structural component in about half the states. Although not a significant load from a structural standpoint ice dams frequently lead to infiltration and costly water damage to interior walls and ceiling surfaces. Research on both issues is ongoing at Rensselaer. Of the many types of snow loads; uniform, sliding snow from a higher roof, etc drifted snow results in higher loads and more potential for structural damage. The Rensselaer water flume is being used to simulate snow drift loading and establish relationships for use in national codes. A guide explaining the ASCE 7-10 snow load provision through design examples and frequently asked questions has been published by ASCE Press.
Funding Agency
Education Ph.D., Northwestern University Civil Engineering M.S., Northwestern University Civil Engineering B.S., Illinois Institute of Technology Civil Engineering
  • Rensselaer Distinguished Teaching Fellow
  • C. Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering ASCE
  • Jerome Fischbach Travel-Rensselaer
  • Standard Oil-University of Wisconsin-Parkside Teaching Award