Project Description

This project explores the feasibility of Real-Time Hybrid Simulation (RTHS), currently used primarily for earthquake engineering experimentation, to be extended to investigate other natural hazards such as extreme wind loadings. RTHS is a cyber-physical systems approach to structural simulation, in which experimental and numerical components are interfaced to provide system-level response of a structure that is challenging to physically test in its entirety. This approach allows complex structural behavior and loading conditions, difficult to model computationally, to be captured experimentally while the accurately-modeled remainder of the structure is simulated to provide increased accuracy and efficiency in the experimental test.

Successful completion of this project represents a landmark as the first instance of RTHS in a boundary layer wind tunnel and will contribute to the reliability and resilience of the nation’s infrastructure by enabling investigations of windstorm hazard mitigation approaches applied to more realistic situations in a non-destructive, cost-effective manner. To extend RTHS to include aeroelastic testing, aerodynamic RTHS (aeroRTHS) will be explored through tests at the boundary layer wind tunnel (BLWT) at the University of Florida’s (UF) NSF-supported Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Experimental Facility (EF). The aeroRTHS framework will facilitate the rapid creation, investigation, and validation of the next generation of mitigation strategies by fully capturing the complex fluid-structure interaction in structures needed to investigate the aeroelastic response from wind hazards.

Research efforts at Clarkson are focused on challenges in the RTHS’s numerical component. For RTHS to serve as an accurate surrogate of a full experimental test, all required computations of the numerical component must be completed in a very short time (typically milliseconds) to avoid introducing fictitious dynamic effects in the feedback signals to the experimental substructure. Restrictions induced by this computation time limit include the complexity of the computational substructure, thus limiting the fidelity of the modeling. Further, the type and number of sensor measurements differ greatly for aeroRTHS compared to previous RTHS efforts in earthquake engineering: typically hundreds of pressure taps on an instrumented wind tunnel building test specimen, each with their own measurement dynamics. This multitude of pressure measurements must be post-processed and translated into effective forces exerted on the computational structural model, again all within a single time step of the numerical simulation.

This project is in collaboration with R.E.Christenson from Univeristy of Connecticut and funded by NSF CMMI-173223 [Clarkson] & NSF CMMI-1732213 [University of Connecticut].