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Prof. Luca Caracoglia Receives NSF Award

September 11, 2014

Congratulations to CEE Associate Professor Luca Caracoglia who was recently awarded a $274K NSF award to support his research assessing dynamic response of tall buildings and wind-turbine towers to transient wind loads due to downburst windstorms, a meteorological phenomenon that induces an outburst of damaging wind loads near the ground. The project will pursue a novel analytical method to provide a more accurate prediction of the dynamic response of tall structures due to transient wind loads. To validate these analyses, the project will study a series of wind tunnel models of tall buildings and a horizontal-axis wind turbine in Northeastern University's small-scale wind tunnel. This activity will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Thai-Hoa Le from Vietnam National University of Hanoi, Visiting Assistant Professor in CEE.

Abstract: NSF

Vertical structures such as tall buildings and horizontal-axis wind turbines are prone to wind-induced vibrations and potential damage originating from complex wind-structure interaction. The relevance of this issue has attracted engineering researchers in recent years because of the tendency to erect taller buildings and larger-diameter-blade wind turbines in the United States and other parts of the World. The design of tall structures is usually based on steady and stationary wind load conditions. However, winds are often transient, such as in the case of a downburst storm, a meteorological phenomenon which induces an outburst of damaging wind loads near the ground. The study of transient wind loads is also relevant since increasing number of structures is damaged by this type of events. This project pursues to develop a viable computational method for the dynamic response assessment of tall structures against a downburst type of storm.

This project will pursue a novel analytical method for assessing the stochastic dynamic response of tall structures due to transient wind loads. The method will account for system nonlinearity and aerodynamic coupling effects. The method will be based on the concepts of compactly supported wavelets and the Wavelet-Galerkin transform, which enables reducing a system of differential equations to an algebraic form by preserving time-frequency features in the modeling. The study will advance the utilization of Wavelet-Galerkin method for solving wind-induced coupled nonlinear stochastic dynamic problems. Moreover, the project will investigate the dynamics, caused by transient downburst-like winds, on a series of reduced-order models of tall structures. Examples will include two benchmark tall buildings and one large-diameter horizontal-axis wind turbine. The research will validate the analytical method by conducting wind tunnel experiments on scaled models of the benchmark buildings. Integrated outreach activities are planned to disseminate the findings of the study through educational tools.