Research Topic

Design and Control of Adaptive Civil Structures

About this Research Topic

The construction industry is the largest consumer of raw materials and it contributes to more than a third of the global energy demand. For these reasons, it has become important to minimize environmental and energetic impacts of new construction. For example, civil structures are usually designed to meet ...

The construction industry is the largest consumer of raw materials and it contributes to more than a third of the global energy demand. For these reasons, it has become important to minimize environmental and energetic impacts of new construction. For example, civil structures are usually designed to meet strength and deformation requirements for statistically calculated load cases. The design is governed by meeting safety and serviceability criteria to withstand strong but rare loading events. Most structures are thus over-designed for most of their service life.

Structural adaptation through sensing and actuation offers an alternative. Instead of relying only on passive resistance through material mass and form in order to counteract the effect of loading, a control system comprising sensors, actuators and control processors is optimally integrated to alter the flow of internal forces and to change the shape of the structure. The internal forces are controlled to achieve stress homogenization, and the shape is changed to control the static, as well as dynamic response. This way the design is not governed by rarely occurring loading events, which results in significant material savings, reduction of environmental impacts through energy minimization, as well as improved structural performance.

The ability to adapt to extreme events makes active structures suitable for challenging environments, such as undersea, in polar regions, in outer space and in nuclear power plants. The convergence of robotics with structural engineering offers a unique opportunity to create new methods to design and control structures that are able to perform in unprecedented ways.

This Research Topic focuses on design, optimization and control methods for adaptive structures. Contributions are invited to discuss suitable strategies to employ adaptation in order to improve efficiency and performance of load bearing structures. Work that includes experimental testing is encouraged. A non-exhaustive list of relevant topics is the following:
● Design methods for adaptive structures
● Size, shape and topology optimization of adaptive structures (i.e. optimization of the structural layout in parallel with the sensor and actuator placement)
● Sensor and actuator optimal placement
● Actuation modelling
● Control and ‘learning’ strategies for force and shape control
● Damage tolerance, diagnostics and adaptation following damage
● Experimental testing


Keywords: Adaptive Structures, Active Structural Control, Structural Sensing, Structural Optimization, Sensor and Actuator Placement, Damage Tolerance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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