Shape control and whole-life energy assessment of an ‘infinitely stiff’ prototype adaptive structure

A previously developed design methodology produces optimum adaptive structures that minimise the whole-life energy which is made of an embodied part in the material and an operational part for structural adaptation. Planar and complex spatial reticular structures designed with this method and simulations showed that the adaptive solution achieves savings as high as 70% in the whole-life energy compared to optimised passive solutions. This paper describes a large-scale prototype adaptive structure built to validate the numerical findings and investigate the practicality of the design method. Experimental results show that (1) shape control can be used to achieve 'infinite stiffness' (i.e. to reduce displacements completely) in real-time without predetermined knowledge regarding position, direction and magnitude (within limits) of the external load; (2) the whole-life energy of the structure is in good agreement with that predicted by numerical simulations. This result confirms the proposed design method is reliable and that adaptive structures can achieve substantive total energy savings compared to passive structures.

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Smart Materials and Structures, 27, 1, 015022
Dec 18 2017
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 Record created 2018-06-05, last modified 2018-06-05

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