Structural Dynamics Laboratory for Verification and Validation (LVV) Across Scales and Environments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

Engineering structures have three distinct phases of life: design/commission, operation and decommission; each with associated costs. Advances in structural dynamics hold the key to hugely reducing the costs of the first two phases. Structural dynamic Validation and Verification (V&V) promises increased trust in physical models to the extent that much first phase testing could be moved into a virtual/computational context. Currently, V&V is almost always conducted in standard laboratory conditions rather than in real operational environments; this is a critical barrier to building trust in models. In the operational phase of life, structural health monitoring (SHM) can allow movement from a safe life design philosophy (where the structure is retired after a fixed time) to a damage tolerant one (where the monitoring allows use as long as the structure is deemed to be healthy). This allows significant reductions in engineering reserve (or safety) factors, allowing lighter, greener, safer structures. SHM also allows the possibility of extending the lifetime of existing structures (e.g. extending the lifetime of 0.7% of EU bridge inventory by 10 years would save in the region of 3 billion Euros). A major technological barrier to SHM uptake is the fact that environmental variations can be confused with damage and can thus generate false alarms, reducing effectiveness of, and trust in, the systems. Furthermore, current V&V and SHM research on the effect of environmental variations is almost always limited to small-scale structures and components, requiring a leap of faith in the extrapolation to full-scale. The facility proposed here will aim to solve the two major problems discussed above by providing a capability to test at fullscale and across realistic environments. The LVV will offer the unique capapility of taking research from its most most fundamental concepts (Technology Readiness Level 0) to the point (Technology Readiness Level 7) where it is directly accessible to immediate industrial uptake.

Planned Impact

We are proposing here a unique facility for the validation and verification (V&V) of engineering models at all test scales and in all environments. The LVV laboratory will allow hitherto impossible programmes of testing and research and will drive the development of new V&V technology across the field of structural dynamics. The facility will also potentially give the UK a world-lead in V&V research and development. The development of new V&V methods and test protocols will allow significantly larger portions of the design and test cycle for structures to be carried out in a virtual/computational context; the potential cost savings are enormous. Relevant industrial sectors which will benefit include, energy, aerospace, offshore, renewables, and medical engineering, but will extend to conventional automotive and other ground transport and civil engineering. Other areas of structural dynamics will benefit from the new technologies e.g. in the operational phase of a structure's life, structural health monitoring (SHM) can allow movement from a safe life design philosophy to a damage tolerant one. This allows significant reductions in engineering reserve factors, allowing lighter, greener, safer structures. SHM also allows the possibility of extending the lifetime of existing structures (e.g. extending the lifetime of 0.7% of EU bridge inventory by 10 years would save in the region of 3 billion Euros). A major technological barrier to SHM uptake is that environmental variations can be confused with damage and can thus generate false alarms, reducing effectiveness of, and trust in, the systems. The LVV will allow much greater understanding of environmental effects. Industry will have access to the LVV on a pay-per-use basis as well as being able to exploit the major new research outcomes enabled by the facility. In fact, the LVV will offer the unique capability of taking research from TRL 0 to TRL 7 where it is directly accessible to immediate industrial uptake. Direct academic beneficiaries will be the Dynamics Research Group (DRG) in the University of Sheffield. Because of major university support in the last few years, the DRG is now one of the largest dynamics groups in the world in terms of personnel; the LVV will potentially allow the DRG to be the primary resource for structural dynamics in the EU. Other academics across the UK will benefit from the possibility to use the LVV on a pay-per-use basis and this external access to the facility will drive the development and growth of UK V&V research generally. The facility will allow the proposal of previously impossible PhD programmes and therefore drive the development of the new academics and industrialists who will be needed to fully exploit new V&V technologies. The ability to test structures like helicopters and airframes at full-scale will allow much more impressive outreach programmes and engagement of the public; there is nothing in the field of dynamics quite as exciting as a full-scale vibration test. This proposal presents the UK with a unique opportunity to take a world lead in V&V. As further evidence of this, a letter from the Director of the Engineering Institute at Los Alamos National Laboratories in the US states: '... we have an entire group dedicated to the development of V&V technology and funded at approximately $20 million/yr, but they do not have access to such an experimental facility'.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description ERDF/ESIF Regional Development Funding
Amount £3,200,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Department European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2016 
End 09/2018
 
Description Airbus Space and Defence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Meeting with Andy Kiley, Airbus Space and Defence to
discuss collaboration opportunities. Also attended by DRG
members C. Lord, J. Rongong, D. Wagg & N. Ray
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description IMAC XXXVI Conference, Orlando, Florida 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 36th Conference and Expo on Structural Dynamics. Exhibited
stand at expo and DRG presenting papers / chairing
sessions. Photographs held in LVV > Marketing > Examples
of LVV Marketing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ISMA 2016 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Met with many key academics in the field of Structural
Dynamics, including authors of letters of support such as
Professor Tadeusz Uhl, AGH University and Professor S J
Elliott, University of Southampton.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description IWSHM 2017 - International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, Stanford, CA, USA. 12th to 14th September 2017 or EURODYN 2017 International Conference on Structural Dynamics. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Exhibited at IWSHM. Photographs held in LVV > Marketing >
Examples of LVV Marketing. Pdf examples of the new banner
designs and leaflets distributed at IWSHM are also there.
Slide submitted for the Networking evening, copy held in
above file.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Meeting with Adam Cartwright, Head of Open Innovation, Siemens 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 5 in attendance (UoS: C. Field, N. Dervilis, J. Dale; Adam
Cartwright, Head of Open Innovation, Siemens Corp
Technology and Chris Briggs, Head of Innovation for Wind
Power Service division. Positive feedback, follow up meetings
arranged between Siemens and Dynamics Research Group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description RAL Space, Airbus Space & Defence, Servotest 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Meeting held between K. Worden, R. Barthorpe, N. Ray, C.
Field and Mike Shepherd (NSTF Project Manager, RAL
Space), Andy Kiley (Airbus Space & Defence) and Jean-Paul
Power (UK Sales Manager, Servotest Testing Systems Ltd).
Discussed scope of potential project utilising Chamber 2 &
MAST system for approximately 4 weeks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Royal Aeronautical society RAers 150 event- AMRC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Sell out event, tour of AMRC facilities, networking
opportunities with companies exhibiting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Sheffield Managing Director's Club, MD Club: Digital Transformation for Productivity 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Very well attended event for collaboration, aiming to further
strengthen links with business and industry in the Sheffield
City Region. Met with a number of key contacts, including
David Latimer, CEO Magnomatics and Mike Maddock, MD
Performance Engineered Solutions Ltd. To arrange follow up
meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Siemens UK Networking Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Paper copy of Agenda and delegate list held in Marketing
Folder. LVV BDM presented to 54 delegates across UoS &
Siemens representatives Head of R&D, Head of Open
Innovation & Head of Manufacturing & Innovation. Positive
feedback from Siemens and UoS (e.g. Michel Le Lerre,
Centre Manager, Transport Innovation Centre, UoS), follow
up meetings also arranged between Siemens and Dynamics
Research Group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Stand at IMAC Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The LVV is still being built; however, a Business Development Manager has already been employed, with the objective of informing the community of the new laboratory and generating business from Academia and Industry. He will be publicising the laboratory via stands at international conferences. The first of these stands was at the IMAC 2017 conference in Orange County, California, USA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017