SAMPLE RESEARCH PROJECTS
The following sample projects are either current or have been conducted within the past five years. However, research or collaboration opportunities are not limited to the following.
WIND EFFECT ON STRUCTURES
Effect of Heterogeneous Terrain on Wind Loads on Buildings
Post-hurricane damage surveys show that the terrain near a building can have a significant effect on the wind loads acting on the building, which in turn can influence the building performance. The modeling of the terrain has been especially challenging when the terrain is non-homogeneous, such as a mix of suburban buildings, trees, and roads. In this research, wind tunnel testing will be conducted for different types of heterogeneous terrains. Analytical and computational tools will be developed to characterize the observed terrain effect. To obtain realistic terrain configurations, a database of actual terrains will be developed using terrain images and corresponding land usage classifications. A deep-learning neural network will be utilized to improve the existing land usage classifications, particularly for enhancing roughness estimation of developed areas.
Consequences of Tree Failure due to High Winds
US DOT DTRT13-G-UTC42
Hurricanes cause significant property loss every year. A substantial part of that loss is due to trees destroyed by wind. The destroyed trees block roads and produce a large amount of debris that needs to be cleaned after the hurricane. This research presents a modular framework to assess the consequence of tree failure due to high winds. Key modules of the proposed framework include Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) for tree recognition, tree failure assessment, and tree failure consequences. CNNs for tree recognition module uses satellite imagery as an input and is composed of two networks. Network-I recognizes the tree locations and Network-II classifies the tree species. The tree failure assessment module uses the selected tree images to approximate the tree parameters and calculate the fragility functions for all the trees that can have an impact in the affected area.
Wind Turbines and Buildings Subjected to Hurricane Winds
Recent studies show that characteristics of hurricane surface winds are different from those of non-hurricane surface winds. The characteristics relevant to analyzing wind turbines or buildings include mean wind speed profile, turbulence intensity, and turbulence spectrum. The objective of this study is to quantify how these differences influence along-wind response of wind turbines or high-rise buildings.
IMPACT LOADING ON STRUCTURES
Safety of Electric Vehicle Battery with Enhanced Energy Absorption
As the use of the electric vehicles continues to increase, there is a need for improving the safety of the battery module. This research employs a phase-changing material (PCM) in the battery module to achieve two goals. First, during normal operation, the PCM dissipates the heat from the battery to improve the performance of the battery. Second, if ever there is a crash, the PCM acts as a energy absorber to enhance the safety of the battery module.
Evaluation of Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) Spirals in Corrosion Resistant Concrete Piles
Florida DOT BDV30 977-27
Piles in Florida are often installed in marine environments or in other environmentally aggressive regions. Under such conditions and without sufficient cover, reinforcing steel in concrete piles is vulnerable to corrosion and the lifespan of support structures can be reduced. FDOT Standard Plans allow Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) as a corrosion resistant alternative to improve durability. While these materials are effective, the high costs are a hindrance and prevent widespread implementation. The objective of this project is to study corrosion-resistant alternatives for the lateral (spiral) reinforcement of piles, to decrease the cost of support structures in aggressive environments. The main design loading is impact loading during the pile driving.
Crashworthiness and Safety Assessment of Cutaway Buses
Florida DOT Transit
The State of Florida acquires over 300 cutaway buses each year through FDOT TRIPS (Transit-Research-Inspection-Procurement Services) program contracts, which provide transit agencies with the means to procure safe, high-quality vehicles at the lowest possible price. Because these buses are exempt from most federal safety standards, due to their build method and GVWR, a research program to examine and improve their safety has been conducted by the Crashworthiness and Impact Analysis Laboratory (CIAL) located at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering in Tallahassee, Florida. The program’s goal is to continually improve the crashworthiness and passenger safety of all cutaway buses purchased through TRIPS contracts.