• Numerical simulation of thermo-mechanical behavior of gypsum board wall assembly

      Quan, Zhili; Hulsey, J. Leroy; Ahn, Il Sang; Chen, Cheng-fu; Xiang, Yujiang (2019-05)
      Fire safety has become a significant concern to public safety; especially in the aftermath of 9/11 attack where, according to official reports, three World Trade Center buildings collapsed because of fire. Therefore, the level of thermal insulation required from building material and structural elements has increased. In recent years, gypsum board wall assemblies have been increasingly used as compartmentation for high-rise residential and commercial buildings. The increasing popularity of gypsum board wall assemblies is due to their relatively high strength-to-weight ratio, ease of prefabrication, fast erection and good thermal insulation. Before implementation of any building material or structural element, its Fire Resistance Rating must be determined by subjecting the material or element to a standard furnace fire test. Over the years, a large database has been collected for the Fire Resistance Rating of building materials and structural elements. However, due to the expensive and time-consuming nature of the standard fire tests, determining an accurate Fire Resistance Rating can be a difficult task. In this study, the author numerically evaluated the Fire Resistance Rating of a new gypsum board wall assembly. Composite steel-EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) insulation is added to a traditional gypsum board wall assembly. The author first did numerical simulation of an experiment on the thermal response of a non-load-bearing gypsum board wall assembly to verify the thermal modeling methodology. The author then did numerical simulation of an experiment on the mechanical response of a load-bearing gypsum board wall assembly to verify the mechanical modeling methodology. Finally, the author used the verified thermal and structural modeling methodology to simulate the new composite steel-EPS gypsum board wall assembly and obtained its numerical Fire Resistance Rating. This Fire Resistance Rating should be compared with future experimental results of the new wall assembly. All modeling was done with ABAQUS V6.14.
    • Pre-stress loss due to creep in precast concrete decked bulb-tee girders under cold climate conditions

      Vandermeer, Drew E.; Ahn, Il-Sang; Liu, Juanyu (2019-05)
      This report presents guidelines for estimating pre-stress loss in high-strength precast pretensioned concrete Decked Bulb-Tee (DBT) bridge girders in cold climate regions. The guidelines incorporate procedures yielding more accurate predictions of shrinkage and concrete creep than current 2017 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) specifications. The results of this report will be of particular interest to researchers and cold climate bridge design engineers in improved predictions of design life and durability. The use of high-strength concrete in pre-tensioned bridge girders has increased in popularity among many state highway agencies. This fact is due to its many beneficial economic and constructability aspects. The overall cost of longer girders with increased girder spacing in a bridge that is precast with high strength concrete can be significantly reduced through the proper estimating factors. Recent research indicates that the current provisions used for calculating prestress losses in cold regions for high-strength concrete bridge girders may not provide reliable estimates. Therefore, additional research is needed to evaluate the applicability of the current provisions for estimating pre-stress losses in high-strength concrete DBT girders. Accurate estimations of pre-stress losses in design of pre-tensioned concrete girders are affected by factors such as mix design, curing, concrete strength, and service exposure conditions. The development of improved guidelines for better estimating these losses assists bridge design engineers for such girders and provide a sense of security in terms of safety and longevity. The research includes field measurements of an environmentally exposed apparatus set up to measure shrinkage, creep and strain in cylinders loaded under constant pressure for a full calendar year.
    • Testing and analysis of a ground source heat pump in Interior Alaska

      Garber-Slaght, Robbin; Das, Debendra K.; Marsik, Tomas; Lin, Chuen-Sen (2019-08)
      Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) can be an efficient heating and cooling system in much of the world. However, their ability to work in extreme cold climates is not well studied. In a heating-dominated cold climate, the heat extracted from the soil is not actively replaced in the summer because there is very little space cooling. A ground source heat pump was installed at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) in Fairbanks, Alaska with the intent to collect data on its performance and effects on the soil for at least ten years. Analysis shows GSHPs are viable in the Fairbanks climate; however, their performance may degrade over time. According to two previous finite element models, the CCHRC heat pump seems to reach equilibrium in the soil at a COP of about 2.5 in five to seven years. Data from the first four heating seasons of the ground source heat pump at CCHRC is evaluated. The efficiency of the heat pump degraded from an average coefficient of performance (COP) of 3.7 to a mediocre 2.8 over the first four heating seasons. Nanofluids are potential heat transfer fluids that could be used to enhance the heat transfer in the ground heat exchanger. Improved heat transfer could lower installation costs by making the ground heat exchanger smaller. A theoretical analysis of adding nanoparticles to the fluid in the ground heat exchanger is conducted. Two nanofluids are evaluated to verify improved heat transfer and potential performance of the heat pump system. Data from the CCHRC heat pump system has also been used to analyze a 2-dimensional finite element model of the system's interaction with the soil. A model based on the first four years of data is developed using Temp/W software evaluates the ground heat exchanger for a thirty-year period. This model finds that the ground heat exchanger does not lower the ground temperature in the long term.