High-Fidelity Simulation of Large-Scale Structures

Christoph Hoffmann, Ahmed Sameh, and Ananth Grama

Department of Computer Sciences, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907

Abstract. Active structures capable of responding to external stimulii represent the emerging frontier in structural design. Robust and real-time sensing, control, and actuation pose fundamental challenges that must be addressed in this context. As part of an ambitious project funded by the National Science Foundation, researchers at Purdue, Rice, Florida State, and the Catholic (Belgium) Universities have undertaken development of these core technologies. Over the past 18 months, considerable progress has been made in the areas of model reduction and control, sensing, and simulation-based validation. This paper describes our results in high-fidelity simulations of large structures, subject to various (mechanical and thermal) stresses.

A high-fidelity simulation infrastructure poses a number of challenges. These include geometric modeling (generating a suitable mesh for the structure), physical modeling (developing mathematical models for coupling between various phenomena, specifying material properties), computational modeling (developing efficient numerical schemes and their parallel formulations), and appropriate visualization techniques. We have made fundamental contributions in each of these areas. Here, we overview some of our major contributions, along with sample simulations of existing structures. As part of our ongoing work, we also aim to perform a high-fidelity simulation of the tragic World Trade Center (WTC) crash. To this end, we have developed, from available blueprints, a highly resolved geometric model of the WTC. We also aim to complement all of our computational studies with detailed experimental validation on full-scale structures at the Bowen Lab for Structural Engineering. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive effort to fully integrate simulation and modeling with sensing, control, and actuation in an experimental setting. In this sense, we believe that this project is a novel realization of the concept of dynamic data-driven application systems in the realm of large-scale structures.

LNCS 3515, pp. 664-671.

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