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Logistic, Mobility & Infrastructure

Buildings become adaptive


Researcher              Prof. Kay Smarsly

Duration                  2021 – 2024

Institute                   Digital and Autonomous Construction

School of Studies     Civil Engineering (B)

Smart buildings can already measure and analyze their condition with sensors. In the future, they will learn to behave sustainably and future-proof with the help of this data and the Internet of Things.

To cope with the consequences of climate change in the long term, the infrastructure with its cities, settlements and bridges must become resilient. Modern structures already carry many sensors inside them and measure and analyze their condition. Via these intelligent actuators, they actively adapt to the conditions of the environment. However, they are not able to learn from sensor-based structural and environmental data. The goal is to make them sentient and learning buildings by using the generated data autonomously with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the sense of sustainable resilient behavior. For example, such a building "takes care" of its occupants by helping to optimize energy consumption and reduce costs.

Reducing carbon footprint

"The goal of this project is to use the emerging paradigm of cognitive buildings to develop a new scientific basis for resilient infrastructure. Cognitive buildings are able to detect environmental conditions, learn from external or user factors, and integrate IoT devices to optimize performance," explains Prof. Kay Smarsly. Buildings typically focus on reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint. However, they are not able to seamlessly integrate structural information relevant to resilience. This could be, for example, the impact of natural forces or environmental stresses that the building must withstand. As a starting point, condition monitoring and control strategies relevant to resilient infrastructure are considered. Until now, the practice has relied primarily on data-driven modeling to obtain information about building condition. However, data-driven modeling lacks a physical background and does not provide the information needed for this type of monitoring. Therefore, in this project, resilience-related strategies of structural monitoring (Structural Health Monitoring) and adaptive structures (Structural Control), such as load-bearing capacity or serviceability, in particular, are made usable wirelessly.

Feel, learn, adapt

This project provides a construction informatics-based theoretical framework that is designed to provide a universally applicable problem-solving approach to current and future societally relevant challenges in infrastructure and human settlement. It is assumed that by implementing cognitive building, resilient infrastructure can be built, widespread and sustainable industrialization can be promoted, and innovation can be supported. Applied to cities and settlements, they can be made safer, more resilient, and more sustainable.

Prof. Kay Smarsly supervises the DFG project "Resilient Infrastructure".