In seismic regions, some buildings are equipped with mechanical systems to help the structure’s behavior when an earthquake or severe wind strikes. Restricting the deflection of the structure reduces damage and leads to safer, more durable buildings. One type of structural control system uses magnetorheological (MR) dampers that absorb energy to limit the amount of drift that each story undergoes. The dampers’ stiffness can be altered using electric current regulated by a computer.
Associate Professor Jerry Lynch led a collaborative effort to improve these systems. We implemented a wireless sensor network to control the dampers, and embedded a market-based algorithm that seeks to reduce the amount of power used by the dampers. The system recently tested at the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE) in Taipei, Taiwan.
In addition to me and Prof. Lynch, the team included Professor C.H. Loh from National Taiwan University, Professor Kincho Law from Stanford University, Associate Professor Yang Wang from Georgia Institute of Technology, and Professor Andrew Swartz from Michigan Technological University. Professor Swartz is also an alumnus of the University of Michigan CEE Ph.D. program.