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Detection of Instability for Civil Large-Scale Space Structures



A number of structural collapses were caused by the loss of stability. However, the monitoring and detection of instability is rarely studied in both communities of structural health monitoring and structural stability. In this paper, a novel yet practical approach to detecting instability of civil large-scale space structures will be proposed. The basic idea of this approach is: when buckling initiates, the load-bearing characteristics of a member in compression change. The internal force in this member changes from an axial compressive force to a bending moment and shear force. And accordingly, the stress/strain distribution becomes variant along the member due to the fact that the bending moment along the member is different, while the stress/strain along the member remains the same before the buckling happens. By identifying the difference in strain at several different locations in the member, the buckling can be detected. In this study, a large-scale reticulated shell structure is considered to validate the proposed approach. A 3-D finite element model of this structure is developed and the process of losing stability is simulated using ANSYS. The numerical simulation results have demonstrated the efficacy of the proposed approach.

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