The Honorary Chairman was Prof Norman Jones, Member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Emeritus Professor of the University of Liverpool. The Chairmen were Prof Carlos A Brebbia, from the Wessex Institute, and Dr Graham Schleyer, from the University of Liverpool.
The conference started in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989 and since then has been successfully held in other interesting locations around the world.
The increasing need to protection civilian infrastructure and industrial facilities against unintentional loads arising from accidental impact and explosive events, as well as terrorist attacks is reflected in the sustained interest in this SUSI meeting over nearly three decades. While advances have been made over this period, nevertheless many challenges remain such as to develop more effective and efficient blast and impact mitigation approaches than currently exist. The primary focus remains survivability of physical facilities and the protection of people as well as reducing economic losses and impact on the environment with emphasis on innovative practical technologies to support the needs of an economically growing modern society. The application of this technology ranges from transportation of dangerous and combustible materials to defence against natural hazards, such as flood, wind, storm, tsunami and earthquake.
Large scale testing is prohibitive and small scale testing results in scaling uncertainties. Continuing research is therefore essential to improve knowledge on how these structures behave under a variety of local actions, some of which interact making it even more complex and difficult to define. Consequently, more use of advanced numerical simulations for load and structural response calculations is common practice in industry and research. Such calculations can be used in design and risk assessment calculations but also be applied as impact to more simplified design tools and design works. Whether manual or analytical techniques are employed, experimental validation is vital for the acceptance of the approach to be used.
The SUSI meeting over the years has fulfilled many objectives, not least to provide a forum for exchange of research ideas and results to promote a better understanding of these critical issues relating to the testing, behaviour, modelling and analyses of protective structures against blast and impact loading.
Opening of the ConferenceThe Conference was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who welcomed the delegates to the New Forest and explained the aims of Wessex Institute as a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge at international level. WIT – Carlos explained – has developed novel computational techniques based on the boundary element method which have important applications in engineering practice. The Institute at present carries out research and development in the field of petroleum engineering, aerospace and others.
The strength of the Institute – Carlos said – is based on its vast network of academic and industrial contacts around the world.
The Conference programme is an essential part of WIT research and continues to attract delegates from all over the world. It is also closely linked to the operation of WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute, which not only publishes conference proceedings but a substantial number of other books and a series of international journals.
The SUSI 2014 book, for instance, is part of the WIT Transactions on the Built Environment and widely distributed throughout the world in hard cover and digital formats. In addition, the papers are archived online in the WIT eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/), where they are permanently available to the international scientific community.
Carlos ended his remarks by welcoming the delegates once more and thanking them for their support of the WIT conference programme.
Keynote AddressThe keynote speaker was Prof Norman Jones, who gave a presentation on “The credibility of predictions for structural designs subjected to large dynamic loadings causing inelastic behaviour”. The talk based, on his considerable research and industrial experience, described the main drawbacks of accepting experimental or numerical results without a critical approach.
Invited PresentationsThere were a series of other invited presentations delivered by well-known colleagues:
- “Impact loading of stepped circular plates”, by Jaan Lellep, University of Tartu, Estonia.
- “Numerical evaluation of the performance of two-way RC panels under blast loads”, by Mohamed Abdel-Mooty, The American University of Cairo, Egypt.
- “Hydrodynamic ram analysis of aircraft fuel tanks with different composite T-joint designs”, by Sebastian Heimbs, European Airbus Group, Germany.
- “Impact resistance of pre-damaged ultra-high performance fibre-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) slabs”, by Graham Schleyer, University of Liverpool, UK.
- “Soft retention in height fall safety devices”, by Ramon Irles, University of Alicante, Spain.
Conference SessionsThe conference presentations were arranged in the following sessions:
- Impact and blast loading
- Response of buildings to blast
- Computational and experimental results
- Dynamic analysis of composite structures
- Energy absorption
- Seismic behaviour
Social OccasionsThe delegates were taken to Lymington during the lunch break of the first day of the conference. Lymington is now a charming town well know for sailing. Historically it was an important New Forest port renowned as much for its smuggling activities as the legal trading taking place there. It has since ancient times held a Saturday market along its High Street, one of the best known in the area. The delegates were given a walking tour of the main sights of the town, pointing out its association with the Civil War, the refuge given there to royalist troops following the French Revolution and its industrial past, which includes not only the manufacture of sea salt but also important mechanical engineering works which made a contribution during the two World Wars.
There was a joint meeting of the International Scientific Advisory Committee and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements. During the first part the conference topics and objectives were discussed and nominations were put forward for new Committee members. The second part of the meeting discussed the aims and coverage of the Journal and the possibility of appointing new editorial Board members. The meeting took place over dinner at a local restaurant renowned for the quality of its cuisine and wines.
The Conference banquet took place in the unique setting of the Rhinefield House, an impressive Manor House in the New Forest, now converted into a luxury hotel.
The guests were able to see some of the main rooms in the building, including the entrance hall with its hammerbeam roof and its ancient fireplace - the only remainder of the old hunting lodge; the panelled dining-room with its wood carving of the battle of Trafalgar, and the Moorish room, built in a style reminiscent of the Alhambra.
The house built in 1890 by the Munro-Walker family resembles a ScottishCastle from the outside but its rooms combine a wide variety of styles. It is surrounded by a most beautiful English garden with its ponds, maze, grass amphitheatre and many interesting shrubs and trees. Carlos explained to the delegates the history of Rhinefield House and the Munro-Walker family and thanked them for supporting the meeting.
The menu consisted of lamb, for which Hampshire is renowned, accompanied by excellent wines. The evening was most enjoyable and the delegates appreciated the occasion to see different parts of the venue.
The delegates were invited to a lunch time BBQ in the Campus of Wessex Institute where they had the opportunity of seeing the work carried out at the Institute and visit some of the premises. The BBQ provided an occasion of getting to know each other in a relaxed setting. The weather – up to then unstable - was sunny and warm for the occasion.
Closing of the ConferenceThe Conference was closed by Carlos and Graham, the latter making a few remarks about the success of the meeting and confirming that the conference will be reconvened in 2016 in a location and at a time to be decided shortly.
Conference ProceedingsThe proceedings SUSI 2014 – Structures Under Shock and Impact XIII, 512pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-796-4; eISBN: 978-1-84564-797-1) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 141 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com