Design and Characterization of Test Bed for Structural Control of Civil Infrastructure

Student Author(s)

Eric Lipon

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Courtney Peckens

Document Type


Event Date



Civil infrastructure experiences heavy environmental impacts every day that can lead to failure. Earthquakes and high wind loads are especially detrimental to infrastructure and if not properly accounted for can lead to death and injury to anyone in use of the infrastructure. One way to help prevent failure is through structural control. Structural control uses dampers to provide a counteracting force to mitigate the effects of extreme weather loads and prevent failure. The damper is controlled by a microcontroller that processes information, such as velocity and displacement, from a wireless sensor that is attached to the infrastructure. A four-story shear structure and an Active Mass Damper (AMD) system were designed for use on a shake table that would simulate an earthquake. Experimental data was then collected from the structure by simulating an earthquake on a shake table and using accelerometers to measure the acceleration at each floor. A theoretical model was then fine-tuned to match the experimental characterization of the structure. Once the computer model was finalized, a control scenario using the AMD was simulated using a Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) algorithm, to ensure the parameters were correctly defined before the experimental testing. The results from the simulation indicate that the control from the AMD reduces the interstory displacement by a factor of 0.5 to 0.75 at each floor, which can reduce the chance of failure in civil infrastructure.


This material is based upon work supported by the Hope College Dean for the Natural and Applied Sciences Office and the Hope College Engineering Department.

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