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Dynamic Topology Optimization of Elastic Spines in Rocking Systems

Graduate Researcher(s): 
Amory Martin (
Faculty Advisor/PI: 
Greg Deierlein
Professor Glaucio Paulino (Georgia Tech)
Project Sponsor: 
National Science Foundation (NSF), Grant No. DGE-114747

The goal of this research is to improve the design of earthquake-resistant structural systems with localized energy dissipation using topology optimization, a numerical algorithm that determines the most efficient form and geometry of structures. Unlike traditional building design, where beams and columns, in a predefined grid, are sized given force demands, this algorithm automatically generates the structural form given user inputs. 

Using newly developed equivalent dynamic analyses,  a multi-modal topology optimization formulation was developed for the optimized elastic spine configuration of self-centering rocking systems [1]. Future work will extend the framework to include the performance of these systems through engineering demand parameters such as peak interstory drifts. The objective of this project is to develop an optimization framework to automate and improve the performance of these earthquake-resistant structural systems with localized energy dissipation.


[1] Martin, A., Deierlein, G.G. (2020). Structural Topology Optimization of Tall Buildings for Dynamic Seismic Excitation using Modal Decomposition. Engineering Structures.

[2]  Martin, A., Deierlein, G. G. (2018). Topology Optimization of Elastic Spines in Rocking Braced Frames. Proceedings of the 11th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, EERI, Los Angeles, CA. <ResearchGate_TopologyOptimization_ElasticSpines.pdf>