Past Awardee

The Development of Tools and Procedures for Assessing the Capabilities of Non-Linear Simulation Models for Structural Design and Analysis

Daniel Kuchma
Daniel Kuchma

College: Engineering
Award year: 2001-2002

Structural engineering research aims at developing numerical simulation models that can accurately predict the deformations in structures, such as those in buildings and bridges, due to forces caused by gravity, wind, seismic-actions, and other effects. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to properly assess the capabilities of these models because while simulation models provide the load-displacement history for thousands of points, measurement systems used in physical experiments only provide the displacement at a very limited number of points.

A major leap forward in measurement technologies has recently been achieved in the form of Coordinate Measurement Machines (CMMs) that can rapidly measure the position of hundreds (and possibly more) points in 3-dimensional space. These CMMs have principally been used in the manufacturing industry for quality assessment and control, but have yet to be used in structural engineering research.

The applicant has recently been awarded two large experimental research projects in which approximately 100 concrete structures, including about twenty 60-foot long and 6-foot deep prestressed girders, will be slowly loaded to failure in UIUC's structural laboratory. A total of $150,000 from the projects’ budget has been reserved for the acquisition of a CMM that can accurately (± 0.005 mm) and quickly (3,000 readings per second) measure the position in 3-dimensional space of up to 256 small LED markers. During the experiments, these markers will be arranged in a grid like pattern in order to facilitate a direct comparison to be made with the predictions of complex non-linear simulation models.

These experimental projects, the acquisition of a sophisticated CMM, and other resources on the UIUC campus combine to create the opportunity to investigate how data visualization and analysis tools can be used to assess the capabilities of non-linear simulation models for structural analysis and design. This investigation is the proposed work of this proposal to NCSA Faculty Fellow's program. The work is expected to consist of 4 parts.

  1. To investigate how data and information visualization tools can be used to integrate knowledge sources.
  2. To develop adaptive procedures for model validation that can account for the impact of localized damage zones.
  3. To identify suitable experiments for evaluating the capability of specific element types in a finite element analysis.
  4. To develop a procedure for assessing the range of problems that can be studied with any particular analysis tool.

This proposed work would support the work of two other important campus activities. It would help in meeting the objectives of the NEES System Integration. It would also support the work of fib (Federation International de Beton) subcommittee 4.4.2, "Benchmark Tests and Validation Procedures" for "Computer Based Modeling and Design of Concrete Structures" that is chaired by Dan Kuchma. Thus, this project is expected to help NCSA and the University of Illinois take a leadership role in furthering the use and development of numerical simulation models for design and analysis, as well as in the integration of data from combined experimental and analytical studies.