Robust design optimization of three-dimensional concrete building components.
The research project aims at developing new prefab concrete building components with a high material efficiency, by combining structural optimization techniques with modern fabrication methods. This should improve the sustainability of the building industry, which is responsible for a large share of the total consumption of natural resources.
Three types of building components will be developed: pre-slabs with weight-saving elements inside, rib floors which are cast in a robotically fabricated mould, and shell structures composed of prefab components which are produced using robotic formwork. In the case of pre-slabs and rib floors, the size, shape and layout of the material saving blocks or formwork will be optimized, while in the case of shell structures, the shape of the shell will be optimized.
Considering the current state-of-the-art in structural design optimization, the most important scientific challenges to reach this goal are the following: an accurate simulation of the mechanical behaviour of concrete, the high computational cost related to large 3D optimization problems, and the impact of material and geometric uncertainties on the performance of the optimized design. To tackle these challenges, concrete will be modelled as a strain-softening damaged continuum, a fast iterative solver of multigrid type will be used, and robust design optimization based on a multi-level Monte Carlo approach will be performed.