Dynamic Racking Facility

The BCERL Lab includes a dynamic racking facility used to simulate in-plane seismic loads on different wall systems and building components. Appropriate connection details are used to attach the system under test to the upper and lower sliding steel tubes of the facility. The lower sliding steel tube is connected to a hydraulic actuator capable of +/- 3 in. of displacement. A bottom sliding steel tube is connected to a top sliding steel tube by a pinned fulcrum, which doubles the actuator displacement so that up to +/- 6 in. is experienced by the system under test. Cyclic loadings simulating seismic-induced, interstory drifts are achieved with the facility. This facility is capable of testing mockups up to 12 ft. in height and 17 ft. in length. Sensor measurements and image analysis allow detailed serviceability tracking of all system components under test. As a result, this facility is capable of going well beyond the requirements of AAMA 501.6 testing. Strategic placements of displacement, strain, rotation, pressure, temperature and flow sensors help understand how components behave during testing and support the development of models to predict the behavior of systems.

Testing Capabilities

  • Racking tests of full-scale mockups of glazing systems, windows, and curtain walls
  • Racking tests of full-scale mockups of stud framing, sheathing, and panelized walls

Wind Facilities

Dynamic Racking Facility


The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304

E-mail: phrc@psu.edu