Organisers: Dr. Gennaro Senatore, formerly EPFL, Switzerland; Prof. Manfred Bischoff & Prof. Werner Sobek, University of Stuttgart, Germany

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Summary: The construction industry is the largest consumer of raw materials and it contributes to more than a third of the global energy demand. For this reason, it has become important to minimize the impact of new construction on energy resources and the environment. Civil engineering structures are usually designed to meet strength and deformation requirements for statistically calculated load cases. The design is governed by the need to meet safety and serviceability criteria for withstanding strong but rare loading events. Thus most structures are in an “over-designed” state for much of their service life.

Structural adaptation through sensing and actuation offers an alternative. Instead of relying only on passive resistance through material mass and stiffness to counteract the effect of loading, a control system comprising sensors, actuators and processors is optimally integrated to alter the flow of internal forces and to change the shape of the structure. The internal forces are controlled to achieve stress homogenization, while the shape is changed to control the static as well as the dynamic response. In this way, the design is not governed by rarely occurring loading events. This results in significant material savings, reduction of environmental impact through energy minimization, and improved structural performance.

This special session will focus on the design, optimization and control methods for adaptive structures. Contributions are invited to discuss suitable strategies for employing adaptation in order to improve efficiency and performance of load-bearing structures. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to): design methods for adaptive structures; size, shape and topology optimization of adaptive structures (i.e. optimization of structural layout as well as sensor and actuator layout); optimal placement of sensors and actuators; structural adaptation through folding (e.g. origami, kirigami), snap-through and bending (e.g. compliant, auxetics); actuation modelling; “learning” strategies for force and shape control; damage tolerance, diagnostics and adaptation following damage; experimental testing.