The goal of this project is to transform building facades from passive structural elements serving their conventional architectural and functional roles to an adaptable engineered system that can (1) protect a building against extreme wind events, (2) reduce safety concerns and structural costs, and (3) eventually contribute to a sustainable solution for energy saving. Traditionally, fixed structures, such as tall buildings, have been designed with a specific shape based on estimates of average wind flow conditions. This appearance-based design can result in shapes that are not the most effective, especially where the wind becomes variable in intensity and direction. To address structural performance issues and achieve an improved safety and comfort for building occupants, this project will develop innovative smart, morphing facade modules that actively modify the building?s aerodynamic shape to alleviate flow-induced vibrations during moderate to high winds. This technology has the potential to be integrated with the growing industry of adaptive facades for energy generation in buildings, providing additional functionality and sustainability benefits. Both graduate and undergraduate students will become involved in this research project, with recruitment that will particularly target students who are underrepresented in engineering fields. The project will also result in new educational engineering activities presented through undergraduate coursework and in STEM outreach to underrepresented and underserved K-12 populations.
The outcome of this research will result in a new generation of multifunctional morphing facade modules that are sustainable and resilient. Such modules, which have tangible safety and economic benefits, will transform the design of morphing control systems for hazard mitigation purposes. This project will create fundamental knowledge in (1) modeling of the dynamics of tall buildings, taking into consideration the feedback loops for control systems in structural analysis, as well as assessment of the dynamic behavior of the integrated building and active facade; (2) diagnostics of the system properties from observations through pressure, accelerometer, and velocity sensors, where a network of sensors will be used to characterize and reconstruct a near-real-time representation of flow-induced forces acting on the building; and (3) control of the aerodynamic shape of the system to obtain a desired dynamic behavior. This research is expected to advance aerodynamic optimization and active control systems for large-scale morphing surfaces through integrated computational and experimental analyses.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.