iSTAR Laboratory
Welcome to



To enhance durability and improve functionality of our infrastructure by conducting applied research and disseminating the gained knowledge to all sectors of the engineering community as well as the general public.


Infrastructure, including bridges, towers, and large buildings, needs to be strong to withstand an earthquake or a sudden impact. However they also need to be flexible, they have to be able to move and absorb shock in order to survive. The iSTAR Laboratory features a large platform that reproduces the seismic shaking of real earthquakes and is used to test the resiliency of engineered structures and their materials. The laboratory’s capability is of enormous value to public agencies and engineering firms that are designing structures for the earthquake-prone regions of the Pacific Northwest. Faculty and students conduct projects that focus on the effects of extreme loads on our infrastructure and on the utilization of innovative materials. Masters and PhD degree programs are offered in our department, where students work closely with faculty on research projects. Outreach and technology transfer are also an important function of the laboratory through tours that highlight the laboratory's efforts and seminars for those in the industry.

Laboratory Activities

Research and testing conducted at the laboratory are in the area of earthquake engineering, application of innovative materials and numerical simulation designed to achieve our mission.  Large-scale experiments are used to study the structural elements, assemblies or non-structural equipment using the laboratory’s unique shake table and hydraulic actuator capability. Complementary detailed numerical models and analyses are conducted to broaden the results. Physical tests and numerical modeling are combined to thoroughly investigate a wide range of issues including:

  • Seismic testing and earthquake simulation to failure or to specific test protocol, able to conduct tests to IEEE Standard 693-2005 and IEE Evaluation Service AC156
  • Evaluation of fatigue and dynamic impact load effects
  • Non-linear numerical modeling of structural systems and critical components using Abaqus, SAP2000, and OPENSEES.


Portland State University
Science Research and Teaching Center (Lower Level)
1719 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97201


The iSTAR Laboratory is located in downtown Portland, Oregon, as part of the urban campus of Portland State University. The laboratory is located on the lower level in the Science Research and Teaching Center.

Find your way around with Campus Map from Portland State University

Find your way by car with Driving Directions to PSU from Google Maps

Visitor Access

Parking Services

Closest public parking is available in basement and level 1 at Parking Structure 3 (PS3). Enforced Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rate: $2/hour (cards/bills/coins). The Parking Structure 3 (PS3) is free to park after enforced hours, Sundays, and official university holidays.


Portland has an excellent public transportation system. Find your way by bus, MAX or Portland Streetcar with TriMet's Trip Planner . Enter your starting address, enter PSU as your destination, set the arrival time and click Plan Trip.

Science Research and Teaching Center

The Science Research and Teaching Center was previously called Science Building 2 (SB2). Campbell-Michael-Yost designed Science Building 2 (SB2), which was built in 1969. Nowadays, the Science Research and Teaching Center has been retrofitted to enhance the durability of the building.

The Science Research and Teaching Center has four floors above ground, and three basement levels: upper, lower, and sub-basement. An accessible covered skybridge extends from the second floor at the north end of the Science Research and Teaching Center to the second floor of Science Building 1 (SB1). The iSTAR Laboratory is located on lower level. A wheelchair access is on the southeast corner (just to the left of the large stairway in the above photo).


Truck Deliveries should be directly to the Science Building 2 (SB2) illustrated by the arrow starting on SW 12th Avenue to the loading dock of the iSTAR laboratory on Campus Map from Portland State University - look for a ramp down towards a sign that says "Civil Engineering".


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