Our research aims to create better modeling approaches that allow creating and understanding innovative, multifunctional structures under various conditions and loading. This is performed under the current research program titled “Intelligent and Green Marine Vessels”, which is supported by Seaspan Shipyards, NSERC, Vard Marine, Robert Allan and Serco. Several other companies and institutions are involved in some of our research areas.

Main focus areas are described below.

Mechanics of Sandwich Panels and Functionally Graded Materials

We work on modeling vibrations and buckling of orthotropic and anisotropic beams and plates. Structures in focus include prismatic sandwich panels, functionally graded solids, functionally graded porous materials and stiffened panels. Beside mechanical loads, we are modeling the effects of thermal loads that arise as a result of sudden temperature changes.

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Shear-Deformable Multi-Scale Homogenized Models

Lightweight structures can experience high shear deformation which has to be modeled properly to accurately predict static and dynamic responses. Moreover, geometric and material failures can occur at different stages of progressive loading. To model these features, we are developing high-order, non-linear, non-local beam and plate models.

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Swarm and Evolutionary Computation

To effectively optimize complex structures under combined loading, we are advancing nature-inspired optimization algorithms. Given that engineering problems involve many nonlinear constraints (e.g. failure criteria and production requirements), we are working on new constraint handling techniques that can improve algorithms’ performance.

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Data-Driven Models

Optimization and design in general need accurate and fast surrogate models that can replace FEA and CFD. We are working with convolutional neural networks and long short-term memory recurrent NNs for shape optimization and wave propagation. Incorporating physics of a problem allows these networks to be less data-hungry and better at extrapolating predictions.

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High-Quality Welding

All-metal sandwich panels can be manufactured from thin plates. Such structures could severely decrease weight of engineering structures. To ensure high-quality, welding should cause minimal distortion and residual stress. Thus we are conducing research on low-heat input welding techniques using experimental and computational techniques.

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