If Buildings Could Talk
If buildings could talk, what might they have to say? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Tarazaga: We’re located in Goodwin Hall, which is becoming one of the most instrumented buildings in the world for vibrations.
Pablo Tarazaga is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech
Tarazaga: The building is becoming a living laboratory for the College of Engineering, and we’re doing that by placing 200-plus vibration sensors throughout the building.
PT We use vibration sensors to understand how a mechanical system or, in this case, a structural building, behaves and moves in its everyday cycle. What we try to do with that is use that information and those measurements we make to understand if the building is maintaining its structural integrity over time. Also, can we use this to understand how many people are in the building and how these people behave? Where do they go? And then, how can we use that information to do many things, like to measure how well an air conditioning unit can work more efficiently in the building to target people’s location and not necessarily just floors or the whole building at one time.
Tarazaga: 476 :30 We will have a communication capability with the building. We will be able to survey how the building feels through analysis that do structural health monitoring, or we’ll understand when the building wants to tell us something that is going on in the building that we usually don’t understand. So, a kind of responsiveness of what you would have maybe when you go to the doctor. The doctor asks you questions, and you respond back, and you’re using your sensors to kind of, pass that information.
478 PT So, we have outside of the building – Hokie Stone, which is, basically, quarried limestone that’s been shaped and is very characteristic of Virginia Tech, that adorns the outside of the building. And, for example, if that structure were to loosen a little bit away from the wall or its normal attachments, we could see that through our sensors starting to happen.
I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.