Dr. Spence’s main research thrusts are focused on the theoretical and computational development of models and frameworks for the implementation and adoption in practice of performance-based wind engineering, optimization of structural systems subject to uncertainty and experimental/stochastic wind loads, and metamodeling of nonlinear and dynamic structural systems under uncertainty. Specific areas in which Dr. Spence’s research group have made contributions are: performance-based wind engineering, system-level analysis and optimization of uncertain dynamic systems, probabilistic modeling and uncertainty propagation, metamodeling of static and dynamic systems, machine learning in stochastic analysis of structures, resilience and adaptation of communities subject to severe wind events, topology optimization of uncertain stochastic systems, and computational fluid dynamics for wind and rain simulation.
Jeremy Bricker is an Associate Professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research is focused on hydraulic engineering to investigate the resilience of structures and infrastructure exposed to both increasing hazard due to climate change and increasing consequences due to expansion of development in coastal and flood-prone areas.
Computational methods are useful in hydraulic engineering for assessing the safety of coastal and hydraulic structures, estimating the flood risk experienced by communities, and predicting damage to buildings during floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis. At a large scale of hundreds to thousands of kilometers, shallow water equation models simulate tsunami propagation, storm surge and wave generation, and river flood occurrence. At scales of kilometers to tens of kilometers, these models resolve overland inundation due to flood events, allowing empirical or analytical estimates of forces on structures and damage to buildings and infrastructure. At a small scale of tens to hundreds of meters, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) directly calculates pressures and forces on submerged and emergent structures from floodwaters and waves. This can be linked with a dynamic response model to assess whether resonance could lead to structural failure, or linked with a Finite Element Method (FEM) model to assess stresses within the structure. Such modeling is useful for forensic analysis of the failure of bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure after floods, as well as for planning and design of new structures.
Crash simulation plotting von Mises stress. A discretization of Kirchhoff-Love shells based on analysis-suitable T-splines is used. This simulation includes elastoplastic material behavior, fracture criteria, contact algorithms, and spot-weld modeling. Material failure takes place around the largest hole of the B-pillar.