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Adaptive Building Structures

Senatore, G; (2016) Adaptive Building Structures. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis presents the formulation of a novel methodology to design adaptive structures. This method is based on improving structural performances through the reduction of the embodied energy in the material at the cost of a small increase in operational energy necessary for structural adaptation and sensing. In structural design, members are sized so that they have the capacity to meet the worst expected ‘effect’ or ‘demand’ from all load cases. If embodied energy is to be saved, clearly, member sizing should not be governed directly by the worst demand but by some fraction of it. The design method proposed here seeks to synthesise structural configurations which can be thought of as a hybrid between a passive and a fully active structure. Instead of using more material to cope with the effect of loads, here strategically located active elements (actuators) provide controlled output energy to manipulate actively the internal flow of forces into more efficient load paths (i.e. stress homogenisation) and keep displacements within desired limits by changing the shape of the structure. To ensure the embodied energy saved this way is not used up to by actuation, the adaptive solution is designed to cope with ordinary loading events using only passive load bearing capacity whilst relying on active control to deal with events that have a smaller probability of occurrence (e.g. wind storms, snow, earthquakes, unusual crowds but also moving loads such as trains). A nested optimisation scheme finds the active-passive system that corresponds to the minimum of the sum of embodied and operational energy. This work on adaptive structures comprises both a numerical and an experimental component. Numerical simulations and experimental tests carried out on a purpose-built large scale prototype confirmed that substantial savings up to 60% of the total energy can be achieved by adaptive solutions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Adaptive Building Structures
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: adaptive structures, active structural control, shape control, load-path optimisation, whole-life energy, structural optimisation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1526515
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