PARFORCE

Bauhaus University Weimar (BUW) - Chair of Advanced Structures has been awarded with 287.470,00 EUR from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to take lead in constituting a strategic partnership between Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), University Aveiro (UA), University Osijek (UNIOS), and Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology (IZIIS). The strategic partnership is within the framework of the Erasmus+ strategic partnership for digital education program (2022-2023), under the project title “PARFORCE: Partnership for virtual laboratories in civil engineering.

PARFORCE aims at developing a joint platform for digital/virtual laboratory experiments to support European civil engineering higher education, and thus, making an essential contribution to the understanding of teaching materials by students. The main objective of the project is to make various laboratory experiments available virtually, which are not a part of standard education at each university but are carried out at specialized institutes. The results and experiences of the proposed project will be presented, at the end of the project, in special sessions at various national and international conferences in the form of presentations and publications.

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E-Tutor Training
(2021)

Ph.D. Training I
(2022)

Ph.D. Training II
(2023)

M.Sc. Pilot Course
(2022/2023)

e-Learning and Moodle functionalities

Applied and Computational Mathematics in Engineering Application

Applied and Computational Mathematics in Engineering Application

Assessment of Structures under Wind, Fire, and Earthquake

Intellectual Output 1
(IO1)

Intellectual Output 2
(IO2)

Intellectual Output 3
(IO3)

Instructional design guide: didactics of media learning environments

Methods and algorithms for digital learning tools evaluation

Remote-access Experiments in Structural Engineering

Wind Tunnel Experiment

360-degree.education/Wind Tunnel

The virtual tour of the wind tunnel facility at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Institute of Wind Engineering and Fluid Mechanics (WiSt), has in total 14 scenes, i.e. Panoramas, which visualize the whole facility, from outside the building until inside the wind tunnel chamber. There are two different laboratory experiments introduced in this virtual tour, the boundary layer test of the grouped cylinders and the free-vibration and forced-vibration tests of the horizontal cylinder. The tour includes hotspots that provide information to students such as:

  • Viewing course material and slide shows
  • Description boxes on top of the real objects
  • Technical sheets of the equipment in the laboratory
  • Video guide around the wind tunnel hall
  • Video footage of the running tests from different angles
  • Theoretical knowledge on laboratory tests

Apart from the information hotspots, two scenes have been equipped with quiz hotspots to assess the interim knowledge of users about the presented VT content. Users can try quizzes as many time as needed, since quizzes are not defined as embedded assignment and will not be evaluated. The timer and score display are defined only for users to track their performance. Since users cannot move in real environment around, arrows on the ground and doors on the walls are defined as hotspots, which can take the user from one scene to another. 

Fire Resistance Test

360-degree.education/Fire Resistance

This virtual tour of the fire resistance test facility at the University of Aveiro, Department of Civil Engineering, depicts a fire resistance test, which was conducted on a gypsum plate wall. The objective of this test was to evaluate the integrity to flames, hot gases, and thermal insulation with respect to criteria of standard fire resistance classification. It is worth noting that the ambient conditions and test setup at this facility are not suitable for huge attendance, therefore, fire resistance tests are conducted under safety restrictions and only technical staff are allowed to audit experiments in person.

The VT of the fire resistance test has in total 13 scenes, including three 360-degree videos. The scenes are organized in a way that by moving around the virtual room, users can view time steps of the experiment as it has been conducted in real life (as a sequential view). Therefore, the VT begins at minute 0 (first scene) and ends after 77th minute (the last scene). A 360-degree video at the end of the test reviews the whole experiment that was conducted in 77 minutes in 7 minutes. The information hotspots embedded have above all the following functions:

  • Showing the construction of the gypsum board wall
  • Depicting the exposed side of the wall before and after test
  • Describing the equipment and data acquisition system at the laboratory
  • Showing raw sensor data and footage from thermal cameras
  • Depicting the final results and tables related to the fire classification

Quasi Static Test

Quasi Static Test

This virtual tour of the quasi-static test has 4 scenes, including 3 panoramas and one 360-degree video. Panorama footages are conduced from the column element at the beginning of each test, once from the column without damage at the hinge area, and once after the damaged element from the first test is repaired by polyurethane material and is about to be tested again under the same load cases. The third panorama scene depicts the whole test setup from another viewpoint. The 360-degree video has been employed to show an overview of the laboratory and test setup, as well as providing users with an understanding about how slowly the column element is moving during each cycle of loading. The information hotspots embedded within this VT have above all the following functions:

  • 2D footage from the hinge area, before and after crack propagation
  • Close-up view of cracks and test equipment, including data acquisition systems
  • Diagrams of loading cases at the end of each test
  • Time-lapses of column element deflections at the end of each test
  • Raw data of the sensor recording at the end of each test

Shaking Table Test

Shaking Table Test

The virtual tour of the shaking table facility at the Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology (IZIIS), includes Panoramas, which visualize the whole facility from the outside until under the table itself. The laboratory can perform non-destructive testing of full scaled structures and equipment using ambient vibrations and forced vibration methods.

Technical Specifications

  • size in plane 5.0 x 5.0 m
  • shaking table mass is 33.0 t
  • pay load 40.0 t
  • 5 degree-of-freedom (DOF)
  • 2 lateral (Y1-Y2) and 4 vertical actuators (V1-V4)
  • MTS Digital Controller 469D
  • Total mass of the supporting structure - 1200 t
  • 3 hydraulic power supplies with a maximum flow of 1,250l/min
  • The required electric power to feed the three pumps is 1,020 A
  • Operational since 1980

Interactive Python Tool

Interactive Python Tool

This Python application is capable of automating the estimation of load-bearing capacities using data from experiments and simulations, presenting a pathway to expedite and enhance the accuracy of hand calculations for students or designers.

Abrahamczyk, L., Mirboland, M., Koch, Ch., Penava, D., Höffer, R., Apostolska, R., Lopes, N., Kähler, U. (2022): Holographic/Virtual Experiments for Higher Education in Structural Engineering [Extended Abstract]. 10thICCSM, Pula, Croatia.

Lopes, N., Vila Real, P., Kaehler, U., Abrahamczyk, L. (2022): PARFORCE - Partnership for Virtual Laboratories in Civil Engineering [Poster]. Risks and Sustainability in Construction (risco day), Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal.  

Salzinger, J., Kurniawati, I., Abrahamczyk, L., Höffer, R. (2023): Thinking outside the box  Virtual labs in engineering education. 9th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’23), June 19 – 22, Valencia, Spain.

Disclaimer

The creation of these resources has been funded by the ERASMUS+ grant program of the European Union under grant no. 2016-1-DE01-KA203-002905. Neither the European Commission nor the project‘s national funding agency DAAD are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.