Monday, 5 December 2016

Impact and Blast Resistant Design Methods 2016

The Impact and Blast Resistant Design Methods course took place at Ashurst Lodge with the participation of two well-known lecturers, Professor Norman Jones and Dr Graham Schleyer, both from the University of Liverpool, UK.
This is an annual event that attracts delegates from many different countries.

N Jones2016
         Prof N Jones
Professor Norman Jones FREng FNAE FIMechE FASME FRINA was AA Griffith Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Impact Research Centre at the University of Liverpool. He has conducted theoretical, numerical and experimental studies at MIT in the US and the UK over the past 40 years into the dynamic behaviour of structures and systems. These studies have clarified the influence of dynamic material properties, dynamic crushing, transverse shear forces, finite deflection effects, failure criteria including perforation, rotatory inertia and other phenomena on the response of a wide range of structural members (beams, plates, shells, pipelines, etc) subjected to impulsive, dynamic pressure and impact loads causing large inelastic deformations.
Professor Jones is Honorary Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Impact Engineering. He wrote the book ‘Structural Impact’ and has co-edited nine other books, as well as publishing over 300 journal articles. He has won two prizes from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, another from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, an Eminent Scientist Award from the Wessex Institute of Technology, and has been invited to serve on many international conference committees as well as delivering plenary and opening addresses. He has honorary professorships in China and is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering.

Dr Graham Schleyer FIMechE, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering and a member of the Impact Research Centre at the University of Liverpool, having worked previously for several years in the gas industry and for shorter periods with leading research and technology companies in the UK and the US. Over the past 20 years or so he has conducted hundreds of field and laboratory tests on full-size and reduced-scale structures involving gas, HE and pressurized air explosions which has provided useful insights into the explosion resistance of safety critical components and structural systems. An overall advance has been the development of sub-scale experimental procedures. These tests have resulted in the validation of numerical models and approximate design methods for steel, glass and RC structural elements subjected to pulse pressure loads.
Dr Schleyer is Co-chair of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Conference ‘Structures Under Shock and Impact’ organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal ‘Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements.’

The Course comprised the following lectures:
  • Introduction to impact and stress waves
  • Quasi-static approximation
  • Energy absorbing systems
  • Human impact injury criterion
  • Structural crashworthiness
  • Blast loading and effects
  • Dynamic properties of materials
  • Failure and perforation
  • Design of ductile and non-ductile structures
  • Energy absorption, cladding and sandwich structures
  • Buckling of structures
  • Scaling and experimentation
  • Case studies
The course, which has always been successful, is run annually.
Impact Group

For further information and details of the next event, please contact:

Jane Chantler 
Wessex Institute of Technology 
Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst 
Southampton, SO40 7AA 
Tel: 44 (0) 238 029 3223 
Fax: 44 (0) 238 029 2853 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Special Seminar on Thermal Analysis of Residential Scale Ice Storage Devices

Professor Andrea Mammoli from the University of New Mexico, gave a seminar at Ashurst Lodge on the Thermal Analysis of Residential Scale Ice Storage Devices.
               Professor Mammoli
Wessex Institute has had over the years many contacts with the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque collaborating in the organisation of boundary element courses and several important international conferences in Sante Fe.
These links continue to this day with the co-organisation of the Multiphase Flow Conference, co-chaired by Professor Peter Vorobieff of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Andrea who was spending his sabbatical at Ashurst Lodge, gave a short introduction describing the use of ice storage in the past up to today’s commercial scale ice storage devices.
The Hyatt Hotel in Albuquerque for instance has 40 large cylinders holding ice but there are no residential systems at present.
The reasons for this are various including tariffs that do not encourage such devices although they are ideal in places like New Mexico and California where more than 40% of the peak electricity demand is used in air conditioning.
Andrea described the experimental house built by the University to participate in a national competition, the DOE Solar Decathlon. The house has a residential ice storage system. The basic storage unit is made out of plastic, water and glycol.
Andrea described the mathematical model representing the problem and in that way calculated the rate at which heat could be transferred to and from the ice for a given configuration.
A comparable device is the Tesla Powerwall battery based on lithium. It can store 6.4 kWh of energy, and deliver 3.3kW at peak power which in terms of cost of the battery represents $468/KWh or $1,500/KW.
An ice storage device designed to store 7 kWh of energy can reduce the electricity load by over 4 kW. Such a cooling unit would contain approximately 200 kg of ice, and its size would be comparable to that of a small refrigerator. Andrea thought that its efficiency can be very high if the freezing is carried out at the right time during the day.
The widespread use of PV particularly in California means that there is a substantial supply of electricity during the day, ready at the time when people are at work at the time that the solar energy is being harvested. This situation changes in the evening when there is a considerable increase in power demand. This difference implies that many power plants need to be shut down during the day and restarted in the evening, which is uneconomical. The use of residential scale ice storage devices may be the right solution to even out the production of electricity throughout the day.
Andrea concluded that the ice storage device can compete favourably with a Tesla type battery in terms of cost and durability, although thermal storage is not intended to completely replace electric storage.
The presentation was followed by a large number of questions and suggestions by the audience.

Monday, 14 March 2016

ASCE UK Meeting at Wessex Institute of Technology

A meeting was arranged at the Wessex Institute Campus in Ashurst Lodge, to bring together the ASCE members in the UK and let them know about the recent developments of the Society in the USA, as well as listen to an interesting technical talk about bridge design.

The meeting was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, President of the ASCE/UK Group, who described the work of Wessex Institute.  Carlos pointed out that WIT’s main function is the dissemination of knowledge and hence the Institute, rather than being in competition with other academic bodies, collaborates with many of them throughout the world.
ASCE members at a special event at Wessex Institute

The WIT activities are carried out through supporting industry with advanced consulting and software tools.  Another important role is the publication of specialist literature and maintaining a large Open Access database, from which papers can be downloaded for free.  A further function of WIT is the organisation of technical conferences in different locations, in collaboration with other research institutions and universities.

Carlos finished his introductory remarks by thanking everybody for coming to the meeting which he hoped will be followed by similar seminars in the future.  He also expressed the gratitude of ASCE/UK for the presence of the two speakers at the meeting, ie Prof Alex Cheng, from the USA, and Prof Santiago Hernandez from Spain.

Prof Alex Cheng is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Mississippi and currently Dean of Engineering at the same School.  He has a distinguished academic and research career, starting with his PhD at Cornell University, where he also taught for some time before taking a position at Columbia University, followed by one at the University of Delaware.

He is renowned in the field of computational mechanics and serves now as the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Engineering Analyses with Boundary Elements.  Alex is also a member of the Board of Directors of WIT and collaborates with the Institute as an Adjunct Professor.

He has been very active at ASCE where he was past president of the Engineering Mechanics Institute.  Amongst his many honours and awards he has been the recipient of the Walter L Huber, Civil Engineering Research Prize.

Alex started by paying tribute to the long Civil Engineering tradition in the UK. Civil Engineering can be dated to the first use of that name by Smeaton even before the Institute of Civil Engineers started.  It was much later that the ASCE was created.

Alex also mentioned that his own University of Mississippi at Oxford, founded in 1842, followed the English model.  One of the first founding professors, John Millington (1779-1868) was the author of The Elements of Civil Engineering, the first handbook of the profession. 

Alex explained the importance of the ASCE not only in the USA but also throughout the world.  It has developed a series of Institutes which carry out activities in many different countries.  It is still mainly a professional association in spite of its research interests.

Alex has been involved with the Engineering Mechanics Institute and described their technical support work which is very varied as it covers many different fields.  Some of these topics eventually gave rise to new groups in their own right.

The Institute’s interests range from computational methods to new materials and nanotechnology.  The topic of eco-friendly materials is very much in the agenda of the Institute.  The Institute has produced a series of successful reports dealing with civil engineering infrastructure problems, including the state of buildings, sewage systems and many other types of infrastructure.

ASCE members 

The ASCE reports are taken into consideration by the USA Government.  They are highlighted through the work of lobbyists in Washington.  This is an important function of ASCE and one of the main reasons for some experts to join the Society.

After Alex’s address, Carlos introduced Prof Santiago Hernandez, F.A.S.C.E.  Santiago is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of A Coruña, Spain.  Santiago also has a long and distinguished research career.  One of his main research areas is the analysis and design of bridges.  He has written a book on ‘Bridge Aeroelasticity: Sensitivity Analysis and Optimal Design’, recently published by WIT Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-84564-056-9.

Santiago has received a most important Award, ie the Distinguished Achievements Medal of Civil Engineers in Spain.  The award given once a year is highly prestigious.  Santiago is an Adjunct Professor, as well as Member of the Board of Directors, of the Wessex Institute.  He has collaborated with WIT for a long time, including in the organisation of courses and international conferences.

During his talk Santiago showed a series of interesting projects which were analysed by his Group.  He also described his laboratory facilities for testing bridge spans to obtain their aeroelastic properties.  Currently, there are – Santiago said – a number of interesting projects all around the world, many of them setting new records in terms of span length and new materials.  It took longer than 20 years after the famous Tacoma Bridge design for the profession to realise the importance of flutter.  The earlier understanding of the problem, as postulated by von Karman, produced what is now called von Karman Vortex Street, without pointing out the phenomenon of flutter.

Physical models of bridges are expensive to construct and run.  They do not always produce the best results due to problems of scale. Frequent design changes along the way make physical models difficult to use as they require constant modification.

Computational Fluid Dynamics software can also be used to understand the structure-fluid interactions such as the behaviour of the deck under wind.  They are not reliable for problems such as flutter, at the moment.

Because of that Santiago’s group proposed to combine experimental and computational methods.  The test is carried out using only a section of the deck to obtain the necessary coefficients to define that section as an element in a computer code.  The test is carried out in a comparatively small aerodynamic wind tunnel.

Flutter is the cancellation of the damping of the structure for a given wind speed.  As the speed of the wind increases the damping reduces, as was the case with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  Because of that it is necessary to compute the response of the bridge for different wind speeds and see when the damping becomes zero, obtaining in this way the higher wind speed that the bridge can undergo.

The advantage of Santiago’s approach is to require reduced laboratory facilities; testing is less expensive, costs are not related to bridge lengths, and the designer is given a better representation of flutter.

Both talks gave rise to a period of discussion with numerous questions and exchange of ideas amongst the participants.

The seminar was followed by a tour of the Wessex Institute premises, led by Carlos, who explained the work of the different departments.

Finally the members were offered a light lunch before departing.

The meeting was most successful and it is expected to lead to further collaboration amongst the participants.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Special Seminar on Fast and Larger BEM Solvers by Dr Pietro Fusco, WIT

Dr Pietro Fusco, WIT
A Special Seminar was held at Ashurst Lodge on methods for solving large systems of boundary elements equations. The speaker, Dr Pietro Fusco, started by explaining the motivation for the research and the type of solution proposed.

The work is part of the joint project between the Wessex Institute of Technology and the University of Bournemouth which aims to develop better solvers to improve the performance of BEM solutions.

A variety of methods were discussed by the speaker including domain decomposition combined with the use of parallel computing.

Pietro discussed ways in which the solution can be improved by handling the equations in a more efficient manner and developing better interfaces.

Another byproduct of this research project will be the combination of FEM and BEM domains to be able to take advantage of the best properties of each method.

The research will be focused on the solution of practical engineering problems based on the expertise acquired with the Boundary Element Analysis System (BEASY) developed at Ashurst Lodge.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Special Seminar on Energy Efficiency

Professor Todorka Samardzioska, from St. Cyril and Methodius University in the Republic of Macedonia, visited Ashurst Lodge to give a lecture on “Energy Efficient Buildings and Alternative Energy Sources”. Todorka received her PhD at WIT in 2006.
Prof Todorka Samardzioska

Energy efficiency in buildings requires optimization of heating and cooling, hot water systems, lighting and other energy demands. Nearly 60% of that energy is dedicated to heating and cooling in Macedonia.

The optimisation requires savings in energy demands, as well as the application of new technologies and the development of renewable energy resources. Insulation is an important component of energy efficiency.

Todorka has participated in a Smart Energy Project of the EU to reduce carbon emissions as well as optimise energy use. The aim of the EU project is to study the carbon emissions in Europe and propose ways to reduce them. A variety of building types were studied and different types of isolation proposed. The problem of the thermal bridges were particularly looked into and solutions proposed.

Todorka commented on the new types of external wall constructions applying higher levels of insulation. This includes the use of passive solar systems. They also include floor heating systems.

She stressed the importance of a multidisciplinary approach for solving energy problems. 

There were many questions following the lecture, giving rise to a lively discussion regarding different energy systems in the built environment.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Link with ITMO

Professor Carlos Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute of Technology, visited St Petersburg’s National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics of the Russian Federation (ITMO) to discuss collaboration between the two Institutions.
The Meeting was held with Dr Daria Kozlova, Vice Rector for International Relations, and Professor Maya Uspenskaya, Director of International Scientific and Research Institute of Bio-engineering.
Carlos explained the way in which his Institute works with different organisations around the world, including some of the most prominent in the Russian Federation. Areas of possible collaboration are the holding of scientific meetings and seminars in St Petersburg, production of books and other printed material and exchange of researchers.
Associate Prof Daria Kozlova, Prof Carlos Brebbia, and Prof Maya Uspenskaya at ITMO in St. Petersburg