Adaptive Structures  

Case Studies

Case Study 01 - Multi Storey Building

The structure considered in this case study is made of planar vertical trusses which represent the stability system for a multi-storey building. The wind load (live) is modelled using a stochastic distribution which is representative of wind and other typical building loading scenarios.

This parametric study shows that there are types of structure (e.g. high-rise building with small footprint) for which adaptive structures outperform passive ones, not only for extreme and rare loading scenarios but also for day-to-day loads.

Case Study 02 - Portal Frame

The structure considered in this case study is made of planar trussed portal frames which represent sections of a typical exhibition centre, aircraft hangar building or other large, clear-span building.

This case study offers an example of a more complex geometry than the cantilever truss studied so far and confirms further that for stiffness governed designs the energy savings are substantial even when considering live load with magnitude lower than that of the permanent load.

Case Study 03 - Arch Bridge

The structure considered in this case study is made of planar trusses which represent sections of a trussed arch bridge. For this strength-governed case study, both mass and energy savings are lower in comparison to other case studies because the catenary arch form of the structure is already very efficient under downward loads.

This results in almost no actuation being necessary for displacement compensation. In order to make a fair comparison between the adaptive and the passive structures and since the passive structure is thought of as perfectly pre-cambered under permanent load only, the displacements are considered to be caused by the live load only.

Case Study 04 - Vault

The structure considered in this case study is a spatial truss obtained from double curved vault whose form is generated using an optimisation routine which results in an efficient shape for withstanding permanent load.

Despite being generated by a form-finding strategy which results in an efficient for the dead load, the directional wind loading produces large displacements making the problem stiffness-governed. As for previous examples, in these cases forces and displacements compensation via actuation outperform purely passive resistance to loads.

Case Study 05 - Exoskeleton

The structure considered in this case study is a simplified model of a tower building known as 30 St Mary Axe or informally the “Gherkin”, a skyscraper in the City of London. The model is loosely related to the original geometry. The building studied here is assumed to carry external loads only using its own exoskeleton as structural system.

This case study shows that for buildings supported by an exoskeleton structure (i.e. no cores), even with a low height-to-depth ratio (in this case 1:3) the energy savings are substantial.


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