B: System technology and design

B01 - Characterisation, modelling and model order reduction

Which capabilities do we expect for well-designed adaptive structures and how can such structures be modelled?

To answer those questions, project B01 focuses on the characterisation and modelling of adaptive structures. Furthermore, methods for model order reduction are applied and extended on the custom requirements of adaptive structures.

Methods for design, mechanical modelling, analysis and optimisation of structures are inherently connected to the understanding of the mechanical behaviour of load bearing structures in engineering. Considering ultra-lightweight adaptive structures, this understanding has to be extended to smart and active reactions to external influences. In order to characterise the mechanical behaviour of adaptive structures, stability, static determinacy, stiffness, strength, and ductility are important characteristics. Those can be investigated considering a material point, a cross section (for truss and beam structures), or a whole structure.

A main objective of B01 is the development of methods to identify the most important and desirable capabilities of well-designed adaptive structures, to learn how such a structure can be designed, and how such information can be provided to the control. The adaptive structure is defined as a new archetype of structures. This facilitates an integral design of adaptive structures, as opposed to adding adaptive components to an initial design of a passive structure.

Following the objectives of the project, the following questions arise:

  • How can adaptive structures be characterised?
  • Which criteria and characteristics are relevant and desirable for an adaptive structure?
  • How can adaptive structures be modelled and analysed?
  • Which methods for model order reduction can be applied onto models with variable actuator placements?

The focus of project B01 is set on the modelling and the simulation of adaptive structures. Because of its large influence on the design process, the actuation should be included in an early stage. The objective is to define simple but accurate models of actuators in order to represent the actuation in the simulations. In this context, the finite element method is an important tool for static analyses, dynamic simulations and optimisation of structures.

Redundancy distribution in a triple statically indeterminate framework (c) IBB
Redundancy distribution in a triple statically indeterminate framework

To enable simulation of adaptive structures, the global model including variable actuator placements should be appropriate for model order reduction. The numerical effort for dynamic simulations (especially in real-time) or optimisation of adaptive structures is huge. Due to that fact, model order reduction plays an important role in this project. The objective is to extend existing methods and to implement the new developments at ITM into NumPro, the FEM-Code of IBB.

Based on modelling and simulation, a new structural typology should be defined as a characterising and describing tool for adaptive structures. This expands the existing structural classification by the actuation of load bearing structures.

Project B01 provides information on (reduced) modelling and characterisation as an important prerequisite of many other projects of the collaborative research centre.

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Manfred Bischoff, Institute for Structural Mechanics
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Prof. E. h. Peter Eberhard, Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics


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M. Sc.

Florian Geiger

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

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Benjamin Fröhlich

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

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M. Sc.

Nadine Walker

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin