Collaborative Research: Reconfiguring Steel Structures: Energy Dissipation & Buckling Mitigation Through the Use of Steel Foams
The research objectives of this award are to characterize the mechanical properties of novel steel foams and determine whether this new class of materials presents opportunities for transformative improvement of the performance of civil structures. Although other kinds of metal foams serve well established purposes in the aerospace and automotive industries, the advent of manufacturing techniques for steel foams opens the door to low cost mass production of a material suitable for civil structural application. The research program consists of experiments to characterize the structure and mechanical properties of the material and simulations to establish proof-of-concept applications of steel foams to civil structures. The target applications are energy dissipating devices to improve seismic performance of building systems and selective application of steel foam to improve the strength and ductility of thin-walled steel structural members.
If successful, this research program will spur increased research and development work leading to low-cost mass production of steel foams, and will have identified methods for improving the performance of civil structures during extreme loading events. The potential benefits accrue to society through improved structural performance and incentive for the steel industry to develop new manufacturing capabilities. The research is closely connected to the steel industry and the practice of structural design through an industrial advisory board comprising practicing engineers and steel industry professionals. A vertically integrated, collaborative research team spanning from the undergraduate to full professor levels across three institutions of higher learning, and a program of outreach targeting graduate students and high school students from under-represented groups, ensures that the project will have significant workforce development and mentorship impacts.
Northeastern University’s College of Engineering is home to numerous federally-funded research centers and an array of leading-edge projects and initiatives that advance discovery and new knowledge in health, sustainability, and security.