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City civil engineering academic wins EPSRC Bright Ideas Award

Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering, Dr Agathoklis Giaralis, has won a £250,000 award for his innovative pitch to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Bright Ideas Awards (The Big Pitch: Ground, structural and water engineering) for the optimum design of tall buildings using energy harvesting enabled tuned mass damper inerter devices.
by John Stevenson

City of London Skyline

A research proposal submitted by Dr Agathoklis Giaralis, a Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering in the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, has won a special Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Bright Ideas Award (The Big Pitch: Ground, structural and water engineering).

The proposal, titled "Multi-objective performance-based design of tall buildings using energy harvesting enabled tuned mass-damper-inerter (TMDI) devices", was only one of four to be funded in the areas of structural and geotechnical engineering under the specific award scheme which is "intended to support genuinely novel and potentially transformative research projects that have the potential to profoundly impact and/or transform a broad area of research. They are awarded to individuals with a bright adventurous idea."

AgathoklisDr Giaralis's project focuses on wind and/or earthquake excited buildings whose motion is controlled via a tuned-mass-damper (TMD): an additional free-to-vibrate mass mounted at the top of buildings by springs and viscous dampers.

In the winning proposal, Dr Giaralis combined the classical TMD with an energy harvesting enabled inerter device, currently used to suppress vibrations in suspension systems of high-performance vehicles (e.g., racing cars, motorcycles and trains) to "allow for more slender, taller, cost-effective and aesthetically-pleasing tall buildings in congested urban environments such as London, through the ability to control wind-induced oscillations by more lightweight TMDs in contrast to the ones currently in use."

The research also promises to "change the 'purpose' and functionality of building structures so that an office building can be designed to ensure absolute comfort to occupants during work hours - even for extreme climate change-induced winds envisaged in future, for which it was not initially built. During off-hours the same structure becomes a flexible cantilever producing renewable energy from wind."

Dr Giaralis is very pleased to have been given this award by the EPSRC:

"There are considerable new technological R&D and commercialisation opportunities for the UK and international manufacturers of vibration suppression and energy harvesting equipment for civil and mechanical/automotive applications. It is hoped that my research will catalyse this process and I am grateful to the EPSRC for accepting my proposal and permitting me to research this exciting area of structural dynamics ."

For more on City's civil engineering programmes, please visit this weblink.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.