Safety and reliability are essential for your structure, especially when considering challenging designs or extreme loads. Extreme loads, such as wind, earthquakes, explosions or impact loads can have serious consequences for your structure. They can cause vibrations, damage or even failure of the structure. Regarding challenging designs, for example, a complex shape, lightweight or high-rise structures and large spans, safety and reliability sometimes exceeds the conventional practice. These types of structures require an innovative and a technically advanced approach.
Dealing with challenging designs requires an innovative approach on top of conventional practice to guarantee the safety and reliability of structures such as complex shapes and lightweight, high-rise and large span structures.
Our team of specialists focuses on research, analysis and advice on the safety of structures. We will provide high-end advice and innovative solutions for the challenges you face. We achieve this by combining the latest technologies and state-of-the-art computer software. Our main areas of expertise are:
- Advanced structures
- Dynamic analysis
- CFD analysis
- Structural safety
- Coupled analysis
- Probabilistic design
A complete overview of our expertise can be found in our capability statement.
Most of our projects are commissioned by Multinationals such as Shell, BP, Heineken, Yandex, TU Delft and NAM. Additionally, together with various municipalities, provinces and architectural firms we work on innovative projects like the Shaded Dome, apartment complex Karel Doorman and the Martkhal.
Challenging designs, innovative building concepts and high-tech materials. These are examples where the conventional design and building methods are inadequate. We combine our expertise and creativity with the latest technologies to bring innovative ideas to life.
Markthal, a challenging design in concrete with a steel cable – glass façade.
Karel Doorman, a lightweight 16 storey apartment block constructed on an existing structure.
The dynamic behaviour of a structure is critical because of the way vibrations manifest themselves in the structure. In some situations vibrations are experienced as a nuisance, however, in extreme situations vibrations can lead to structural damage or the collapse of a structure.
Vibrations can be caused by both internal and external factors. Examples are people, machines, nearby train tracks or roads and wind loading. These factors cause nuisance vibrations or might disrupt the function of the structure. Nuisance is often an issue for apartments, offices or lightweight buildings while disruptions are an issue for sensitive equipment in hospitals, laboratories and industry. Vibrations can be taken into account in the design phase to minimise nuisance during the usage phase, this is especially important for constructions on or near railways. In extreme situations the safety and reliability of a structure can be endangered by vibrations (e.g. earthquakes and explosions) if these are not taken into account.
We provide dynamic analyses to create insight into the cause and consequences of vibrations. By measurements and analysis we provide substantiated advice and an efficient and suitable solution for various dynamic issues.
We use our Dyka software, an in-house development, to compute the out-of-plane response of masonry walls subjected to seismic time-histories. You can download the Dyka software here.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
We use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyse wind, air and liquid flow. Wind flow analyses include contamination dispersion studies; pedestrian comfort and safety, and wind loads for buildings. Air flow analyses are conducted to assess the indoor thermal climate of buildings or the air flow in clean rooms. Finally, the flow of liquids is analysed to determine the consequences of silo or storage tank ruptures.
When you have doubts concerning the capacity or safety of your structure we provide various analyses which will accurately determine its adequacy.
Initially, we perform structural analyses to provide insight into the structural capacity and safety of existing structures. In addition, a structural analysis can be used to determine if the structure can resist (un)expected loads, such as earthquakes, explosions, impact or vibrations.
Furthermore, we perform risk and hazard assessments to determine specific risk and hazards for structures and their environment (in case the structure fails). And finally, we provide forensic analyses which in case of damage or failure of a structure provide insight in the cause.
Coupled analyses provide a more realistic view on the behaviour of a structure. We perform these analyses when the structural response to a load influences the load itself. Typically, several loads are put independently on the structure, which is unrealistic or even unconservative. Examples are thermo-mechanical analyses, aero-elastic analyses and soil-structure interaction.
Thermo-mechanical analyses. Severe thermal loading, e.g. caused by very high temperatures (fire radiation) or cryogenic temperatures (LNG storage), can cause large deformations, large stresses and cracks. These effects influence the structural response to other types of loading. We make use of coupled non-linear FEM analysis of structures to determine the transient and simultaneous effect of thermo-mechanical loading.
Soil-Structure Interaction (SSI) SSI is the process where the structural behaviour influences the behaviour of the soil and vice versa. In most situations this phenomenon is neglected. However, in the case of extreme loading, such as earthquakes, the influence of SSI is significant, especially in soft soils. We provide an insight into in the effects of SSI using non-linear FEM time domain analyses.
Advances in computing technology have enabled instant calculations and visualizations. We utilize Grasshopper, Python and Dynamo software for parametric optimizations and to streamline the design process.
Finite Element Method
Many of the above-mentioned analyses are carried out in Finite Element Method (FEM) software packages. A collection of software is used by us each with its own strengths.
FEM models provide valuable insights into complex issues. This can be the distribution of forces in complex shapes, the influence of extreme loads or the behaviour of non-linear (new) materials. A combination of these aspects is often analysed, for example, we combine non-linear material behaviour of masonry with earthquake loading (time signal) to analyse the cracking and failure of masonry during an earthquake. Most analyses are performed in DIANA FEA for which we intensively cooperate with their software developers. In addition, for specific topics we use specialized FEM software such as:
- Autodesk CFD & COMSOL Multiphysics for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
- Oasys GSA & SOFiSTiK for pneumatic and membrane structures and form-finding
- Python, Grasshopper and Dynamo for parametric design and automation
- LS-DYNA & ABAQUS for impact analysis
- Plaxis 3D for soil behaviour and Soil-Structure Interaction