Dr. Yang Wang, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was recently awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award by the National Science Foundation.
The research objective of Professor Wang's project is to discover a series of decentralized substructure-based monitoring and control approaches using wireless and mobile sensor networks. Building upon theoretical foundation in system dynamics and optimization, this fundamental research in decentralized approaches has a potential of practical implementation in developing smart large-scale structural systems. The basic research in structural monitoring and structural control includes two aspects: (i) On structural monitoring, substructure-based finite element model updating and system identification strategies will be created to enable decentralized synthesis of sensor data at high spatial resolution. The decentralized model updating and system identification strategies are to be investigated using climbing and flying mobile sensors that provide dense and flexible deployment. (ii) On structural control, decentralized substructure-based formulations will be discovered to cast the decentralized structural control problem into a convex optimization problem that can be solved with highly efficient numerical techniques. The decentralized control strategies will be validated through large-scale shake-table experiments using a wireless sensing and control network with real-time feedback.
The protection and monitoring of structural safety is a highly complex issue facing today's civil engineers. Dr. Wang's research will enable accurate monitoring and effective protection of the nation's civil structures, and thus, can generate significant societal and economic impact. The proposed fundamental research has immense opportunities for application, which includes monitoring and control for not only civil structures, but also various mechanical and aerospace structures. The K-12 education plan includes one-day outreach activities containing multiple interesting modules, including lecture and video, hands-on competition, and live demonstration of mobile sensors. The promotion of diversity is placed at highest priority, emphasizing K-12 outreach in metro Atlanta area with large African-American student population. In addition, the international collaboration and student exchange program will further disseminate research and education outcomes generated from this project.