Development at the interface of civil/mechanical engineering

Modern civil engineering structures may be prone to large amplitude vibrations because of their slenderness.

Wind, traffic, machines and pedestrians may excite structures to amplitudes which are not acceptable in terms of serviceability and comfort; in these cases the adoption of vibration dampers represent the common countermeasure. In regions with high seismicity civil engineering structures are protected against the hazardous impact of earthquakes by isolators at their base.

The first step towards optimum design of vibration dampers and isolators is the analysis of the vibration problem by modelling the structure and excitation mechanisms.

Due to the nonlinear behaviour of structural oscillations with large amplitudes, the complex coupling between structure and excitation and the intended nonlinear behaviour of vibration dampers and isolators the derived models must by analysed by numeric simulation. Therefore, a key target of the Stiftung Maurer Söhne is to further develop simulation tools that are capable of computing complex structural models in combination with computational fluid dynamics (wind) with the inclusion of vibration dampers and base isolators, both of which may be passive or active devices, and real-time measurement systems. The modelling of such systems can only be achieved by the inclusion of knowledge from civil, mechanical and electrical engineering together with materials science and computer science.

The development of new structural dampers and isolators mandatorily requires testing facilities which are able to test the new devices in scale 1:1. Therefore, the Stiftung Maurer Söhne also aims at supporting the project planning and engineering of modern test facilities which must be able to test structural dampers and isolators of tomorrow with bigger sizes and reaction forces. In addition, hybrid testing - also denoted as hardware in the loop testing - are key ingredients of modern testing facilities as these techniques allow testing the real devices as if they were installed in the vibrating structure under earthquake or wind excitation.