PI: James Ricles

Co-PI(s): N/A

University: Lehigh University

Industry partner: Eastern Exterior Wall Systems 

Natural hazard events (e.g., high-to-extreme wind, storm surge, earthquake) can cause economic and human losses due to structural or nonstructural damage that leads to the inoperability of the civil infrastructure. All civil infrastructure is anchored to the earth using different types of soil-foundation systems. The failure of these systems is catastrophic and can lead to huge downtime and economic loss throughout the local and global community and endangerment of human life as noted above. The effects of soil-foundation-structure interaction (SFSI) is an important component of a civil infrastructure system that has been typically ignored in prior research. It has been found in recent research studies that the effects of SFSI either be beneficial or detrimental to the performance and resiliency of a structural system. The proposal project will focus on developing real-time hybrid simulation (RTHS) that accounts for SFSI effects. In developing this technique, structural system response and the effectiveness of rate-dependent response modification devices in mitigating natural hazard demands can be accurately assessed by including SFSI. An alternative approach will be taken to overcome the barrier of modeling soil-foundation systems that use continuum finite elements possessing nonlinear constitutive routines. The traditional finite element approach results in an overabundance of degrees of freedom and nonlinear elements. The alternative approach involves the use of neural network (NN) models that are trained using machine learning to accurately predict the nonlinear behavior of soil-foundation systems that support a structural system. The approach enables a substantial reduction in the degrees of freedom necessary to model the soil-foundation system while capturing nonlinear behavior, thereby enabling hybrid simulations with SFSI effects to be performed in real-time. RTHS can then be used to more accurately assess the performance of response modification devices aimed at improving the resiliency of systems to natural hazards. The proposed project will utilize the resources that exist at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Lehigh Real-Time Multi-Directional (RTMD) Experimental Facility (EF) that is housed in the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Engineering Research Center. This includes the Real-time Cyber-Physical Structural Systems Laboratory. The project will also utilize high-performance computing (HPC) resources made available by the NSF-supported Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC). The proposed study will provide a research topic for one PhD student, who will be supported by the proposed study. In addition, a junior or senior undergraduate will also participate in the project. The outcomes of the proposed project include a validated technique that can be used to explore the response of civil and energy harvesting infrastructure to demands associated with extreme environmental conditions. This will provide the means for Lehigh to compete for external research funding in new and evolving natural hazards research areas by accounting for SFSI effects.