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Engineering Technology Laboratory For Active Control Of Structures

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.497.1 - 7.497.15



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Paper Authors

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Weining Feng

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Alberto Gomez-Rivas

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George Pincus

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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Session 1825

Engineering Technology Laboratory for Structural Control of Structures Alberto Gomez-Rivas, Weining Feng, and George Pincus Department of Engineering Technology, University of Houston-Downtown


Structural protection using active control systems is becoming common practice due to three factors: 1) safety, in order to protect the lives of occupants; 2) the high cost of reconstruction or repair of structures including the social cost incurred while the structure is out of service; and 3) the low cost of reliable electro-mechanical systems required for implementation of an active control system.

Structural Analysis and Design (SAD) and Control and Instrumentation Electronics (CIE) are two University of Houston-Downtown Engineering Technology B.S. degree programs that are ideally related in the field of active control of civil structures. SAD deals with the analysis and design of structures, their loads, and failure modes. CIE deals with the design of systems for control of processes. The study of how to design active controls for structures that respond favorably to imposed loads and deformations is a problem that naturally connects the two disciplines.

The Engineering Technology Department at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has a structural laboratory that was developed with funds provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). After the NSF grant was implemented, the laboratory developed additional facilities for testing and determining the behavior of structures. During Fall 2001 a student appointed as a Shell Scholar (Shell Scholars are student assistants that are assigned activities that benefit other students) developed a test rig for active control of structures. The paper presents the factors used for design of the test rig and illustrates specific examples of active control of structures in the laboratory. This paper also shows how two seemingly different engineering technology majors can function in a synergistic environment for the benefit of students in both programs.


This paper deals with a new and challenging field that results from the overlapping of the realms of structural engineering and control system engineering. The field that was in the past a theoretical dream has become a reality due to economic factors and society’s demands. Structures of significant size and importance for every day life are found everywhere. Bridges, buildings, communication towers, and dams are called civil structures because of their close interaction with community activities. Society requires a high level of unsupervised or autonomous safety in the use or operation of these civil structures.

It is interesting to compare the operational safety of a ship to that of a bridge. Ships and bridges are structures that may be subjected to the action of environmental effects affecting their Proceeding of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Feng, W., & Gomez-Rivas, A., & Pincus, G. (2002, June), Engineering Technology Laboratory For Active Control Of Structures Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10548

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