Research

Structures are heavily relied on by society to provide for safe and resilient infrastructure in the face of exposure to multi-hazards (e.g. earthquakes, wind, traffic, and blasts). Current experimental and analytical research is being conducted in the areas of smart structures (structures that can sense and adapt to their environment to provide hazard protection), innovative testing methods, and monitoring for building, marine and transportation structures. This research is interdisciplinary, involving faculty and students in Mechanical Engineering in the areas of controls and vibrations/acoustics and in Anthropology with recent efforts looking at cultural markers to better understand why different societies implement varying levels of protective systems for hazard mitigation. Our research has advanced the state-of-the-art in the areas of structural control, real-time hybrid testing and structural monitoring with research support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), and Connecticut and Texas Departments of Transportation (ConnDOT and TxDOT). This research has been presented and published in numerous national and international conferences, workshops and journals and served as the basis for various international workshops.

This page contains brief descriptions that document the research efforts in building, marine and transportation structures.

Building Structures

Sponsors: NSF-NEESR, NSF-CMMI, NSF-SI2/SSI, NSF-SAVI

Description: Buildings are important components of the built infrastructure. Performance during and after hazards, such as earthquakes, is critical to the resilience of a society. Research on buildings is focused on protective systems for building structures, including smart base isolation, use of Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid dampers, and efforts on testing and understanding the behavior of new mitigation strategies more efficiently and extensively using innovative testing methods.

Selected Publications:

    • paper

Marine Structures

Sponsors: ONR

Description: Characterizing vibration transmission of marine systems is important to operational performance. To help facilitate a move to more model-based design, a new approach to substructure testing with experimental substructures, called real-time hybrid substructuring, is being pursued. This research is being undertaken with close collaboration with the ship builder to ensure relevance to the Navy and provide training of engineers in the field.

Selected Publications:

    • paper

Transportation Structures

Sponsors: ConnDOT, FHWA, DHS, FHWA-IDEA, TexDOT

Description: Transportation networks are critical to the safety and economic viability of a society. Transportation structures, including bridges, sign and signal structures, and roadway lighting, are important to the transportation of people and goods in a society, yet the condition of our transportation infrastructure is unsettling. Bridge monitoring efforts in Connecticut have moved from long term monitoring for structural health monitoring (SHM) to short term monitoring of troubled bridges and to bridge weigh-in-motion, a method where the number and weights of trucks crossing over a bridge are determined from the measured response of the bridge itself. Further, innovative techniques for mitigating wind-induced fatigue of traffic mast arm structures are being explored.

Entertaining commentary on the US transportation infrastructure "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Infrastructure (HBO)": Here

Selected Publications:

    • paper