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Hybrid fire testing in a non-linear environment using a proportional integral controller

Elke Mergny (Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Liège University, Liege, Belgium)
Thomas Gernay (Department of Civil Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Guillaume Drion (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Liège University, Liege, Belgium)
Jean-Marc Franssen (Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Liège University, Liege, Belgium)

Journal of Structural Fire Engineering

ISSN: 2040-2317

Article publication date: 22 May 2019

Issue publication date: 22 May 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new framework based on linear control system theory and the use of proportional (P) controller and proportional integral (PI) controller to address identified stability issues and control the time properties in hybrid fire testing.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper approaches hybrid fire testing as a control problem. It establishes the state equation to give the general stability conditions. Then, it shows how P and PI controllers can be incorporated in the system to maintain stability. A virtual hybrid fire testing is performed on a 2D steel frame for validation and to compare the performance of the controllers.

Findings

Control system theory provides an efficient framework for hybrid fire testing and rigorously formulate the stability conditions of the system. The use of a P-controller stabilises the process, but this controller is not suitable for continuous change of stiffness of the substructures. In contrast, a PI-controller handle the stiffness changes. The results of a virtual hybrid fire testing of a 2D steel frame shows that the PI-controller succeeds in reproducing the global behaviour of the frame, even if the surrounding structure is non-linear and subjected to fire.

Originality/value

The paper provides a rigorous formulation of the general problem of hybrid fire testing and shows the interest of a PI controller to control the process under varying stiffness. This methodology is a step forward for hybrid fire testing because it allows capturing the global behaviour of a structure, including where the numerical substructure behaves nonlinearly and is subjected to fire.

Keywords

Citation

Mergny, E., Gernay, T., Drion, G. and Franssen, J.-M. (2019), "Hybrid fire testing in a non-linear environment using a proportional integral controller", Journal of Structural Fire Engineering, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 245-258. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSFE-09-2018-0022

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited