A: Design and planning methodology

A06 – Integration of active elements within a building’s structure

Current design methods for dimensioning building structures are based on expected maximum loads within the lifetime of a building.

Consequently, structures are oversized for most of their service life, which leads to an unnecessary mass. Adaptive structures avoid this by replacing the mass with energy supplied to the system as needed.

The aim of subproject A06 is the activation of structures by actuators and sensors leading to adaptivity with respect to vibration mitigation and load transfer. Eventually, active and passive elements make up the building’s structure and work together realizing an optimal load transfer for any given external load, resulting in large savings in construction material, especially steel and concrete.

First natural vibration modes of a truss structure (c) ILEK
First natural vibration modes of a truss structure

To reach this goal, the project’s research focuses on the following challenges:

  • Integration of adaptive elements into arbitrary truss structures
  • Enhancement of passive structures, especially sophisticated high-rise structures, by the use of adaptive elements
  • Find design engineering methods to integrate actuators into structural elements for creating adaptive elements
  • Definition of feasible cost functions for finding an optimal distribution of active elements within a given structure

To save construction materials, we develop concepts for manipulating a building’s structure based on governing load cases together with their probability of occurrence. Starting from the actuation principle and the respective forces and expected oscillation amplitudes, the placement of actuators and sensors can be determined based on simulation models of the examined structures. One of the projects goals is to develop such models, thus enabling the consideration of active elements in the structural analysis.

The expertise gained from the developments of the actuation concepts in this project serves as a basis for new and integrated design concept of adaptive structures.

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Dr. h.c. Werner Sobek, Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr. h.c. Oliver Sawodny, Institute for System Dynamics