A phased approach to enable hybrid simulation of complex structures

Billie F. Spencer, Chia Ming Chang, Thomas M. Frankie, Daniel A. Kuchma, Pedro F. Silva, Adel E. Abdelnaby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hybrid simulation has been shown to be a cost-effective approach for assessing the seismic performance of structures. In hybrid simulation, critical parts of a structure are physically tested, while the remaining portions of the system are concurrently simulated computationally, typically using a finite element model. This combination is realized through a numerical time-integration scheme, which allows for investigation of full system-level responses of a structure in a cost-effective manner. However, conducting hybrid simulation of complex structures within large-scale testing facilities presents significant challenges. For example, the chosen modeling scheme may create numerical inaccuracies or even result in unstable simulations; the displacement and force capacity of the experimental system can be exceeded; and a hybrid test may be terminated due to poor communication between modules (e.g., loading controllers, data acquisition systems, simulation coordinator). These problems can cause the simulation to stop suddenly, and in some cases can even result in damage to the experimental specimens; the end result can be failure of the entire experiment. This study proposes a phased approach to hybrid simulation that can validate all of the hybrid simulation components and ensure the integrity large-scale hybrid simulation. In this approach, a series of hybrid simulations employing numerical components and small-scale experimental components are examined to establish this preparedness for the large-scale experiment. This validation program is incorporated into an existing, mature hybrid simulation framework, which is currently utilized in the Multi-Axial Full-Scale Sub-Structuring Testing and Simulation (MUST-SIM) facility of the George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) equipment site at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A hybrid simulation of a four-span curved bridge is presented as an example, in which three piers are experimentally controlled in a total of 18 degrees of freedom (DOFs). This simulation illustrates the effectiveness of the phased approach presented in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • MUST-SIM facility
  • curved bridge
  • hybrid simulation
  • phased approach
  • seismic performance evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanical Engineering

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