Performance Assessment of Novel Building Technology Using Numerical Methods

This presentation was made at the 2019 NAFEMS World Congress in Quebec Canada

Resource Abstract

The development of a rapidly deployable, highly energy efficient building technology is of major interest to Canadians. Application opportunities include: northern housing, emergency response and humanitarian relief as well as a wide variety of military applications domestically and abroad. However, the breadth and severity of these varied operating theatres poses special challenges for the technology and the approval of the system in relation to the National Building Code of Canada.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has developed a coherent and holistic set of concepts now protected under the trademark MODULARIS. The building is treated as a system using flat pack structural panels and an easy-to-assemble aluminum frame. Such approaches address many of the design challenges arising from factors such as climate and loading conditions associated to the location where the building will be erected, logistical and shipping constraints, assembly time targets, and uncertainty about the availability of equipment and trained labour at deployment locations. Accordingly, the concept challenges typical construction methods.

Presented herein is a comprehensive design analysis that highlights the role that simulation can play in moving this building technology from idea to market. Furthermore, the discussion highlights where modeling can inform and be informed by practical experimental work in order to build the technical data package required by code authorities.

Numerical modeling shows great promise for understanding the novel structural design features of the building through the analysis of structural behaviours and load paths that would be challenging to obtain via physical testing alone. Finite element analyses (FEA) of the various loading scenarios prescribed by the building code were used to inform discussions comparing building performance to code requirements. Design alternatives were tested virtually using FEA. This permitted incremental knowledge growth concerning key features of the building that would not have been possible using traditional analysis techniques. The use of modeling adds to the knowledge base of how the building can be adapted for specific field conditions and individual customer requirements. The major contribution of this paper is a better understanding of load path sensitivity and the anticipated response of the building to changes in loading scenarios and design details.

Ultimately, simulation tools helped to bridge the gap between established codes and standards developed largely around traditional construction techniques, and a novel building system with design features enabling deployment in a wide variety of challenging environments.

Document Details

AuthorPaulson. I
Date 18th June 2019


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