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Many structures in different engineering applications suffer from cracking. In order to make reliable prognosis about the serviceability of those structures it is of utmost importance to identify cracks as precisely as possible by non-destructive testing. A novel approach (XIGA), which combines the Isogeometric Analysis (IGA) and the Extended Finite Element Method (XFEM) is used for the forward problem, namely the analysis of a cracked material, see [1]. Applying the NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline) based approach from IGA together with the XFEM allows to describe effectively arbitrarily shaped cracks and avoids the necessity of remeshing during the crack identification problem. We want to exploit these advantages for the inverse problem of detecting existing cracks by non-destructive testing, see e.g. [2]. The quality of the reconstructed cracks however depends on two major issues, namely the quality of the measured data (measurement error) and the discretization of the crack model. The first one will be taken into account by applying regularizing methods with a posteriori stopping criteria. The second one is critical in the sense that too few degrees of freedom, i.e. the number of control points of the NURBS, do not allow for a precise description of the crack. An increased number of control points, however, increases the number of unknowns in the inverse analysis and intensifies the ill-posedness. The trade-off between accuracy and stability is aimed to be found by applying an inverse multilevel algorithm [3, 4] where the identification is started with short knot vectors which successively will be enlarged during the identification process.

From the design experiences of arch dams in the past, it has significant practical value to carry out the shape optimization of arch dams, which can fully make use of material characteristics and reduce the cost of constructions. Suitable variables need to be chosen to formulate the objective function, e.g. to minimize the total volume of the arch dam. Additionally a series of constraints are derived and a reasonable and convenient penalty function has been formed, which can easily enforce the characteristics of constraints and optimal design. For the optimization method, a Genetic Algorithm is adopted to perform a global search. Simultaneously, ANSYS is used to do the mechanical analysis under the coupling of thermal and hydraulic loads. One of the constraints of the newly designed dam is to fulfill requirements on the structural safety. Therefore, a reliability analysis is applied to offer a good decision supporting for matters concerning predictions of both safety and service life of the arch dam. By this, the key factors which would influence the stability and safety of arch dam significantly can be acquired, and supply a good way to take preventive measures to prolong ate the service life of an arch dam and enhances the safety of structure.

In construction engineering, a schedule’s input data, which is usually not exactly known in the planning phase, is considered deterministic when generating the schedule. As a result, construction schedules become unreliable and deadlines are often not met. While the optimization of construction schedules with respect to costs and makespan has been a matter of research in the past decades, the optimization of the robustness of construction schedules has received little attention. In this paper, the effects of uncertainties inherent to the input data of construction schedules are discussed. Possibilities are investigated to improve the reliability of construction schedules by considering alternative processes for certain tasks and by identifying the combination of processes generating the most robust schedule with respect to the makespan of a construction project.

The fire resistance of concrete members is controlled by the temperature distribution of the considered cross section. The thermal analysis can be performed with the advanced temperature dependent physical properties provided by 5EN6 1992-1-2. But the recalculation of laboratory tests on columns from 5TU6 Braunschweig shows, that there are deviations between the calculated and measured temperatures. Therefore it can be assumed, that the mathematical formulation of these thermal properties could be improved. A sensitivity analysis is performed to identify the governing parameters of the temperature calculation and a nonlinear optimization method is used to enhance the formulation of the thermal properties. The proposed simplified properties are partly validated by the recalculation of measured temperatures of concrete columns. These first results show, that the scatter of the differences from the calculated to the measured temperatures can be reduced by the proposed simple model for the thermal analysis of concrete.

Recently, the demand for residence and usage of urban infrastructure has been increased, thereby resulting in the elevation of risk levels of human lives over natural calamities. The occupancy demand has rapidly increased the construction rate, whereas the inadequate design of structures prone to more vulnerability. Buildings constructed before the development of seismic codes have an additional susceptibility to earthquake vibrations. The structural collapse causes an economic loss as well as setbacks for human lives. An application of different theoretical methods to analyze the structural behavior is expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, introducing a rapid vulnerability assessment method to check structural performances is necessary for future developments. The process, as mentioned earlier, is known as Rapid Visual Screening (RVS). This technique has been generated to identify, inventory, and screen structures that are potentially hazardous. Sometimes, poor construction quality does not provide some of the required parameters; in this case, the RVS process turns into a tedious scenario. Hence, to tackle such a situation, multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) methods for the seismic vulnerability assessment opens a new gateway. The different parameters required by RVS can be taken in MCDM. MCDM evaluates multiple conflicting criteria in decision making in several fields. This paper has aimed to bridge the gap between RVS and MCDM. Furthermore, to define the correlation between these techniques, implementation of the methodologies from Indian, Turkish, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) codes has been done. The effects of seismic vulnerability of structures have been observed and compared.

This study contributes to the identification of coupled THM constitutive model parameters via back analysis against information-rich experiments. A sampling based back analysis approach is proposed comprising both the model parameter identification and the assessment of the reliability of identified model parameters. The results obtained in the context of buffer elements indicate that sensitive parameter estimates generally obey the normal distribution. According to the sensitivity of the parameters and the probability distribution of the samples we can provide confidence intervals for the estimated parameters and thus allow a qualitative estimation on the identified parameters which are in future work used as inputs for prognosis computations of buffer elements. These elements play e.g. an important role in the design of nuclear waste repositories.

A Machine Learning Framework for Assessing Seismic Hazard Safety of Reinforced Concrete Buildings
(2020)

Although averting a seismic disturbance and its physical, social, and economic disruption is practically impossible, using the advancements in computational science and numerical modeling shall equip humanity to predict its severity, understand the outcomes, and equip for post-disaster management. Many buildings exist amidst the developed metropolitan areas, which are senile and still in service. These buildings were also designed before establishing national seismic codes or without the introduction of construction regulations. In that case, risk reduction is significant for developing alternatives and designing suitable models to enhance the existing structure’s performance. Such models will be able to classify risks and casualties related to possible earthquakes through emergency preparation. Thus, it is crucial to recognize structures that are susceptible to earthquake vibrations and need to be prioritized for retrofitting. However, each building’s behavior under seismic actions cannot be studied through performing structural analysis, as it might be unrealistic because of the rigorous computations, long period, and substantial expenditure. Therefore, it calls for a simple, reliable, and accurate process known as Rapid Visual Screening (RVS), which serves as a primary screening platform, including an optimum number of seismic parameters and predetermined performance damage conditions for structures. In this study, the damage classification technique was studied, and the efficacy of the Machine Learning (ML) method in damage prediction via a Support Vector Machine (SVM) model was explored. The ML model is trained and tested separately on damage data from four different earthquakes, namely Ecuador, Haiti, Nepal, and South Korea. Each dataset consists of varying numbers of input data and eight performance modifiers. Based on the study and the results, the ML model using SVM classifies the given input data into the belonging classes and accomplishes the performance on hazard safety evaluation of buildings.

The latest earthquakes have proven that several existing buildings, particularly in developing countries, are not secured from damages of earthquake. A variety of statistical and machine-learning approaches have been proposed to identify vulnerable buildings for the prioritization of retrofitting. The present work aims to investigate earthquake susceptibility through the combination of six building performance variables that can be used to obtain an optimal prediction of the damage state of reinforced concrete buildings using artificial neural network (ANN). In this regard, a multi-layer perceptron network is trained and optimized using a database of 484 damaged buildings from the Düzce earthquake in Turkey. The results demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the selected ANN approach to classify concrete structural damage that can be used as a preliminary assessment technique to identify vulnerable buildings in disaster risk-management programs.

The current study attempts to recognise an adequate classification for a semi-rigid beam-to-column connection by investigating strength, stiffness and ductility. For this purpose, an experimental test was carried out to investigate the moment-rotation (M-theta) features of flush end-plate (FEP) connections including variable parameters like size and number of bolts, thickness of end-plate, and finally, size of beams and columns. The initial elastic stiffness and ultimate moment capacity of connections were determined by an extensive analytical procedure from the proposed method prescribed by ANSI/AISC 360-10, and Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 specifications. The behaviour of beams with partially restrained or semi-rigid connections were also studied by incorporating classical analysis methods. The results confirmed that thickness of the column flange and end-plate substantially govern over the initial rotational stiffness of of flush end-plate connections. The results also clearly showed that EC3 provided a more reliable classification index for flush end-plate (FEP) connections. The findings from this study make significant contributions to the current literature as the actual response characteristics of such connections are non-linear. Therefore, such semirigid behaviour should be used to for an analysis and design method.

In this paper we present an inverse method which is capable of identifying system components in a hydro-mechanically coupled system, i.e. for fluid flow in porous media. As an example we regard water dams that were constructed more than hundred years ago but which are still in use. Over the time ageing processes have changed the condition of these dams. Within the dams fissures might have grown. The proposed method is designed to locate these fissures out of combined mechanical and hydraulic measurements. In a numerical example the fissures or damaged zones are described by a smeared crack model. The task is now to identify simultaneously the spatial distribution of Young’s modulus and the hydraulic permeability due to the fact, that in regions where damages are present, the mechanical stiffness of the system is reduced and the permeability increased. The inversion is shown to be an ill-posed problem. As a consequence regularizing methods have to be applied, where the nonlinear Landweber method (a gradient type method combined with a discrepancy principle) has proven to be an efficient choice.