Phillips Lab

Smart Urban Infrastructure Group

Areas of Research

  • Structural dynamics
  • Structural control
  • Wind engineering
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Real-time hybrid simulation


Select Projects

Cyber-Physical Approaches to Wind Engineering

This research takes a cyber-physical systems (CPS) approach to the optimal design of structures subjected to wind hazards. The CPS approach combines wind tunnel testing with computer-augmented design to produce optimal structural designs faster and with greater confidence than purely experimental or purely computational methods. This project uses the boundary-layer wind tunnel and cyber-infrastructure at the University of Florida's NSF-sponsored Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) equipment site. See additional highlights on the UF NHERI site.


Performance Evaluation of Inter-story Isolation

This research will produce shake-table real-time hybrid simulation (RTHS) tools to evaluate inter-story isolation systems. Inter-story isolation systems have recently gained popularity as an alternative for seismic protection, especially in densely populated areas. Practical applications of inter-story isolation have appeared in the US, Japan, and China and likewise new design validation techniques are needed to parallel growing interest. RTHS offers an alternative to investigate the performance of buildings with inter-story isolation. The substructure below the isolation layer can be simulated numerically while the superstructure above the isolation layer can be tested experimentally. This configuration provides a high-fidelity representation of the nonlinearities in the isolation layer, including any supplemental damping devices.


Energy Dissipation through Column Buckling Mode Jumps

This research explores column buckling mode jumps for seismic energy dissipation. Traditional civil structures with yielding systems can be subjected to damage and permanent deformation through major earthquakes, which may induce substantial post-earthquake repair costs and is a critical issue for performance-based seismic design. A capped column with an elastic buckling mode jump mechanism is introduced as an economical passive alternative for obtaining flag-shaped hysteretic damping, self-centering, and reusability in seismic design.


Blast Damage Mitigation through Base Isolation

This research explores the use of base isolation to protect structures from blast loads. Although blast and seismic loading are two different phenomena from a fundamental physics perspective, base isolation, as one of the most robust and popular passive control technologies, has significant potential to mitigate damage from other impulsive sources such as blast. Base-isolation alters the dominate global mode shape of the structure to concentrate deformation at the base level and produce more uniform behavior of the superstructure, even under non-uniform loading. Such change in the global dynamic behavior of the structure can potentially reduce interstory drifts and absolute accelerations, a potential boon for the global protection of buildings under blast loading. Furthermore, base-isolation is not overly sensitive to changes in structural dynamics in contrast to many other structural control technologies, providing robustness even in the face of local damage (e.g., stiffness loss).

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