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Interactive visualization based on 3D computer graphics nowadays is an indispensable part of any simulation software used in engineering. Nevertheless, the implementation of such visualization software components is often avoided in research projects because it is a challenging and potentially time consuming task. In this contribution, a novel Java framework for the interactive visualization of engineering models is introduced. It supports the task of implementing engineering visualization software by providing adequate program logic as well as high level classes for the visual representation of entities typical for engineering models. The presented framework is built on top of the open source visualization toolkit VTK. In VTK, a visualization model is established by connecting several filter objects in a so called visualization pipeline. Although designing and implementing a good pipeline layout is demanding, VTK does not support the reuse of pipeline layouts directly. Our framework tailors VTK to engineering applications on two levels. On the first level it adds new – engineering model specific – filter classes to VTK. On the second level, ready made pipeline layouts for certain aspects of engineering models are provided. For instance there is a pipeline class for one-dimensional elements like trusses and beams that is capable of showing the elements along with deformations and member forces. In order to facilitate the implementation of a graphical user interface (GUI) for each pipeline class, there exists a reusable Java Swing GUI component that allows the user to configure the appearance of the visualization model. Because of the flexible structure, the framework can be easily adapted and extended to new problem domains. Currently it is used in (i) an object-oriented p-version finite element code for design optimization, (ii) an agent based monitoring system for dam structures and (iii) the simulation of destruction processes by controlled explosives based on multibody dynamics. Application examples from all three domains illustrates that the approach presented is powerful as well as versatile.

Due to the complex interactions between the ground, the driving machine, the lining tube and the built environment, the accurate assignment of in-situ system parameters for numerical simulation in mechanized tunneling is always subject to tremendous difficulties. However, the more accurate these parameters are, the more applicable the responses gained from computations will be. In particular, if the entire length of the tunnel lining is examined, then, the appropriate selection of various kinds of ground parameters is accountable for the success of a tunnel project and, more importantly, will prevent potential casualties. In this context, methods of system identification for the adaptation of numerical simulation of ground models are presented. Hereby, both deterministic and probabilistic approaches are considered for typical scenarios representing notable variations or changes in the ground model.

Traffic simulation is a valuable tool for the design and evaluation of road networks. Over the years, the level of detail to which urban and freeway traffic can be simulated has increased steadily, shifting from a merely qualitative macroscopic perspective to a very detailed microscopic view, where the behavior of individual vehicles is emulated realistically. With the improvement of behavioral models, however, the computational complexity has also steadily increased, as more and more aspects of real-life traffic have to be considered by the simulation environment. Despite the constant increase in computing power of modern personal computers, microscopic simulation stays computationally expensive, limiting the maximum network size than can be simulated on a single-processor computer in reasonable time. Parallelization can distribute the computing load from a single computer system to a cluster of several computing nodes. To this end, the exisiting simulation framework had to be adapted to allow for a distributed approach. As the simulation is ultimately targeted to be executed in real-time, incorporating real traffic data, only a spatial partition of the simulation was considered, meaning the road network has to be partitioned into subnets of comparable complexity, to ensure a homogenous load balancing. The partition process must also ensure, that the division between subnets does only occur in regions, where no strong interaction between the separated road segments occurs (i.e. not in the direct vicinity of junctions). In this paper, we describe a new microscopic reasoning voting strategy, and discuss in how far the increasing computational costs of these more complex behaviors lend themselves to a parallelized approach. We show the parallel architecture employed, the communication between computing units using MPIJava, and the benefits and pitfalls of adapting a single computer application to be used on a multi-node computing cluster.

Interval analysis extends the concept of computing with real numbers to computing with real intervals. As a consequence, some interesting properties appear, such as the delivery of guaranteed results or confirmed global values. The former property is given in the sense that unknown numerical values are in known to lie in a computed interval. The latter property states that the global minimum value, for example, of a given function is also known to be contained in a interval (or a finite set of intervals). Depending upon the amount computation effort invested in the calculation, we can often find tight bounds on these enclosing intervals. The downside of interval analysis, however, is the mathematically correct, but often very pessimistic size of the interval result. This is in particularly due to the so-called dependency effect, where a single variable is used multiple times in one calculation. Applying interval analysis to structural analysis problems, the dependency has a great influence on the quality of numerical results. In this paper, a brief background of interval analysis is presented and shown how it can be applied to the solution of structural analysis problems. A discussion of possible improvements as well as an outlook to parallel computing is also given.

Due to increasing numbers of wind energy converters, the accurate assessment of the lifespan of their structural parts and the entire converter system is becoming more and more paramount. Lifespan-oriented design, inspections and remedial maintenance are challenging because of their complex dynamic behavior. Wind energy converters are subjected to stochastic turbulent wind loading causing corresponding stochastic structural response and vibrations associated with an extreme number of stress cycles (up to 109 according to the rotation of the blades). Currently, wind energy converters are constructed for a service life of about 20 years. However, this estimation is more or less made by rule of thumb and not backed by profound scientific analyses or accurate simulations. By contrast, modern structural health monitoring systems allow an improved identification of deteriorations and, thereupon, to drastically advance the lifespan assessment of wind energy converters. In particular, monitoring systems based on artificial intelligence techniques represent a promising approach towards cost-efficient and reliable real-time monitoring. Therefore, an innovative real-time structural health monitoring concept based on software agents is introduced in this contribution. For a short time, this concept is also turned into a real-world monitoring system developed in a DFG joint research project in the authors’ institute at the Ruhr-University Bochum. In this paper, primarily the agent-based development, implementation and application of the monitoring system is addressed, focusing on the real-time monitoring tasks in the deserved detail.

This paper presents a robust model updating strategy for system identification of wind turbines. To control the updating parameters and to avoid ill-conditioning, the global sensitivity analysis using the elementary effects method is conducted. The formulation of the objective function is based on M¨uller-Slany’s strategy for multi-criteria functions. As a simulationbased optimization, a simulation adapter is developed to interface the simulation software ANSYS and the locally developed optimization software MOPACK. Model updating is firstly tested on the beam model of the rotor blade. The defect between the numerical model and the reference has been markedly reduced by the process of model updating. The effect of model updating becomes more pronounced in the comparison of the measured and the numerical properties of the wind turbine model. The deviations of the frequencies of the updated model are rather small. The complete comparison including the free vibration modes by the modal assurance criteria shows the excellent coincidence of the modal parameters of the updated model with the ones from the measurements. By successful implementation of the model validation via model updating, the applicability and effectiveness of the solution concept has been demonstrated.

LIFETIME-ORIENTED OPTIMIZATION OF BRIDGE TIE RODS EXPOSED TO VORTEX-INDUCED ACROSS-WIND VIBRATIONS
(2006)

In recent years, damages in welded connections plates of vertical tie rods of several arched steel bridges have been reported. These damages are due to fatigue caused by wind-induced vibrations. In the present study, such phenomena are examined, and the corresponding lifetime of a reference bridge in Münster-Hiltrup, Germany, is estimated, based on the actual shape of the connection plate. Also, the results obtained are compared to the expected lifetime of a connection plate, whose geometry has been optimized separately. The structural optimization, focussing on the shape of the cut at the hanger ends, has been carried out using evolution strategies. The oscillation amplitudes have been computed by means of the Newmark-Wilson time-step method, using an appropriate load model, which has been validated by on-site experiments on the selected reference bridge. Corresponding stress-amplitudes are evaluated by multiplying the oscillation amplitudes with a stress concentration factor. This factor has been computed on the basis of a finite element model of the system "hanger-welding-connection plate", applying solid elements, according to the notch stress approach. The damage estimation takes into account the stochastics of the exciting wind process, as well as the stochastics of the material parameters (fatigue strength) given in terms of Woehler-curves. The shape optimization results in a substantial increase of the estimated hanger lifetime. The comparison of the lifetimes of the bulk plate and of the welding revealed that, in the optimized structure, the welding, being the most sensitive part in the original structure, shows much more resistance against potential damages than the bulk material.

In order to model and simulate collapses of large scale complex structures, a user-friendly and high performance software system is essential. Because a large number of simulation experiments have to be performed, therefore, next to an appropriate simulation model and high performance computing, efficient interactive control and visualization capabilities of model parameters and simulation results are crucial. To this respect, this contribution is concerned with advancements of the software system CADCE (Computer Aided Demolition using Controlled Explosives) that is extended under particular consideration of computational steering concepts. Thereby, focus is placed on problems and solutions for the collapse simulation of real world large scale complex structures. The simulation model applied is based on a multilevel approach embedding finite element models on a local as well as a near field length scale, and multibody models on a global scale. Within the global level simulation, relevant effects of the local and the near field scale, such as fracture and failure processes of the reinforced concrete parts, are approximated by means of tailor-made multibody subsystems. These subsystems employ force elements representing nonlinear material characteristics in terms of force/displacement relationships that, in advance, are determined by finite element analysis. In particular, enhancements concerning the efficiency of the multibody model and improvements of the user interaction are presented that are crucial for the capability of the computational steering. Some scenarios of collapse simulations of real world large scale structures demonstrate the implementation of the above mentioned approaches within the computational steering.

Die Bauwerksüberwachung gewinnt aus sicherheitstechnischen sowie aus wirtschaftlichen Gründen zunehmend an Bedeutung. Nicht nur die Bauwerkssicherheit kann durch leistungsfähige Monitoring-Systeme angemessen beurteilt, auch die Nutzungsdauer bestehender Bauwerke kann durch die gewonnenen Informationen deutlich verlängert werden. Das vorliegende Papier beschreibt die Entwicklung eines webbasierten Talsperren-Monitoring-Systems, das die automatisierte Erfassung von Daten vor Ort sowie die computergestützte Aufbereitung und Analyse der gesammelten Messdaten ermöglicht. Das Monitoring-System ist durch seinen modularen Aufbau nicht auf die Talsperren-Überwachung beschränkt, sondern kann ohne großen Aufwand an andere Überwachungsaufgaben angepasst werden. Das System besteht aus drei wesentlichen Modulen: (i) einer erweiterbaren Klassenbibliothek, die die Steuerung der im Bauwerk installierten Messelektronik ermöglicht, (ii) einem webbasierten Datenerfassungsmodul, das neben der automatischen Datenerfassung eine Fernsteuerung der Messelektronik erlaubt und Funktionen zur Verwaltung der Überwachungsaufgaben bereitstellt, sowie (iii) einem webbasierten Visualisierungs- und Auswertungsmodul zur Aufbereitung und Analyse der gesammelten Daten. Alle an der Überwachung beteiligten Mitarbeiter können mit einem üblichen Web-Browser über das Internet auf das entwickelte System zugreifen; ein Zugriff mittels Mobiltelefon ist alternativ möglich. Das implementierte Talsperren-Monitoring-System begleitet die beteiligten Fachleute von der Erfassung der Daten vor Ort bis hin zur Aufbereitung und Analyse der Messdaten an zentraler Stelle: Die Mitarbeiter werden durch einen einfachen Zugriff auf die installierte Messelektronik, automatisierte Messungen und umfangreiche Analysefunktionalitäten bei ihren spezifischen Aufgaben unterstützt. Der bisherige manuelle Arbeitsaufwand für Datenerfassung, -transfer und Analyse wird somit deutlich reduziert.

Although there are some good reasons to design engineering software as a stand-alone application for a single computer, there are also numerous possibilities for creating distributed engineering applications, in particular using the Internet. This paper presents some typical scenarios how engineering applications can benefit from including network capabilities. Also, some examples of Internet-based engineering applications are discussed to show how the concepts presented can be implemented.