Applications of Artificial Intelligence Techniques on Optimization of Structural Steel Connections

Dr. Driver, Dr. Imanpour

Eric Duong


Steel connections in building projects are traditionally designed in Canada by the fabricator’s engineer using connection design software or spreadsheets, often supplemented by hand calculations. Implicit in these processes is the desire to optimize the net fabrication and erection costs based on several parameters such as material, task and process repetition, machinery availability, fabrication and erection constraints, and available optimization tools. This research project aims to explore the realm of structural optimization by employing evolutionary algorithms to automate and optimize the design of steel shear connections. Evolutionary algorithms are search algorithms used within artificial intelligence to determine an optimal solution from a population of possible solutions within user-defined optimization criteria. A design optimization tool can be built using parametric modelling and connection design software utilizing component-based finite element modelling. The ultimate goal is to provide connection designers and steel fabricators with an optimization tool that showcases how certain changes affect cost, constructability, and sustainability, while allowing for the efficient design of connections and better integration of the workflow across different disciplines.

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