Energy efficiency and sustainability are playing an increasingly important role in civil engineering. Adaptive structures can help to reduce material and thus also the required energy. Applications in which adaptive systems can offer very efficient solutions include the compensation of design relevant peak loads, the homogenization of stress states and the reduction of deformations. One goal of this research area is the design and optimization of adaptive structures in the building industry. Adaptivity should be directly taken into account in an integrative design process.
The development of adaptive building shells, which have to undergo large deformations, requires not only the design of static structures but of structures and their movement. In addition to a biomimetic approach that transfers movements of orchid flowers and snap mechanisms of carnivorous plants to architecture, movements with certain properties can be designed using a variationell formulation.
The design of ever lighter structures often leads to structures with highly non-linear structural behavior that are at risk of stability. The calculation of static equilibrium paths and the evaluation of the postcritical load-bearing behaviour is still a challenge today. In one research project in this field adaptive control algorithms for path following as well as stable and powerful algorithms for the direct calculation of limit points are developed.