PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Innovative Infrastructure System
   Assessment Technology

Real-Time Hybrid Simulation Test-Bed For Structural Systems With Smart Dampers

Vibrations can be detrimental to the operation of mechanical equipment and the structural integrity of building systems. Floor vibrations can damage computer equipment or vital non-structural components that support essential services housed in a structure (e.g., telecommunications equipment, fire sprinkler systems) and which are required to continuously operate. Earthquakes can cause structural damage, leading to downtime of the structure, and possible loss of life to the occupants. There have been recent developments in vibration suppression devices, including smart dampers. To enable these devices to be integrated into practice requires large-scale experimental studies to acquire data for understanding their behavior under extreme events (e.g., earthquake loading), validation of analytical models and device control laws, and the development and validation of performance-based design methodologies.

The proposed study will involve developing a real-time hybrid simulation test bed for smart dampers. To create the test bed, existing hydraulic equipment at the ATLSS Research Center and NEES Equipment Site at Lehigh will be supplemented with additional equipment, including a custom-built servo-control system and servo-hydraulic equipment. Lord Corporation, a developer of magneto-rheological (MR) fluid dampers and MR fluids will participate in the project. They will provide support to the project in the form of reduced pricing for materials (MR fluids specifically) and technical consulting on MR dampers. The test bed will enable real-time hybrid simulations to be performed to investigate the behavior of smart damper and devices in systems subject to dynamic loading. This data will be useful for developing performance-based design methodologies. Example applications include buildings and bridge structural systems subject to earthquake loading, and mechanical suspension systems for equipment subject to dynamic support motion.