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Computational Design and Evaluation of a Smart Material Morphing Building Surface Tile

Zupan, Robert (2019) Computational Design and Evaluation of a Smart Material Morphing Building Surface Tile. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The objective of the present work is to develop and numerically evaluate a novel concept for a shape-changing smart material building surface tile. This concept is based on a unique objective to reduce the area of the facade exposed to solar irradiance, thereby reducing thermal gains during high-temperature periods, by intelligently changing the shape of the facade surface depending upon the surface location, time of year, and other environmental factors. Moreover, a particularly high level of control, and therefore functionality is achieved for this tile concept by using a combination of localized smart material activation and mechanical actuation.

First, an evaluation of the self-shading capabilities of the tile concept is presented. Of particular importance is that a morphing tile leads to an increase in shaded area on a building facade in comparison to a static tile. Next, a computational strategy for the design of the morphing tile concept that includes a numerical representation of the tile concept combined with a non-linear optimization process is presented. The computational design approach is shown to be capable of accurately determining design solutions for various target shapes while also minimizing energy usage. Furthermore, it is shown that utilization of a localized material activation (as opposed to global material activation) parameterization leads to more accurate and energy efficient solutions. Finally, the development and quantification of the capabilities of a benchtop prototype of the tile concept is presented. The results indicate that if provided the proper material activation parameters the shape-changing smart material tile can provide a significant decrease in tile area exposed to solar irradiance for various times of day. Furthermore, results indicate that the morphing frequency (i.e., monthly, daily, hourly, etc.) and the control method of an array of tiles (independent vs dependent) have a significant effect on the area of the tile exposed to solar irradiance.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zupan, Robertrjz6@pitt.edurjz60000-0002-5979-0583
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBrigham,
Committee MemberVandenbossche, Juliejmv7@pitt.edujmv7
Committee MemberKhazanovich, Levlev.k@pitt.edulev.k
Committee MemberBeblo,
Committee MemberClifford,
Date: 19 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 March 2014
Approval Date: 19 June 2019
Submission Date: 1 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 106
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Smart Material, Optimization, Self-Shading, Computational Mechanics
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 14:10
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 14:10

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  • Computational Design and Evaluation of a Smart Material Morphing Building Surface Tile. (deposited 19 Jun 2019 14:10) [Currently Displayed]


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