Mission statement - Mission - Challenges

The content on this page was translated automatically.

Mission statement

Structural analysis and structural design for a sustainable future. 


The classical subject of structural analysis is the common focus of all structural topics in civil engineering and architecture. It deals with cross-material aspects of construction in research and teaching. As an engineering discipline, structural analysis forms the interface between the fundamentals of mathematics, computer science, mechanics and materials science and the disciplines that deal with construction and design.

The core tasks of structural analysis and structural dynamics are the development of methods for modeling and simulating entire load-bearing structures even before they are built. They form the basis for a qualitative and quantitative structural evaluation and assessment of structures. In terms of standards and regulations, they serve to verify stability, serviceability and durability. The structural design is decisive for the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of buildings over their entire service life.

Structural calculations are carried out even before the structure has been designed in every detail. Structural models are therefore more than just a true-to-life reproduction of a concrete model - they are the basis of the creative process of structural design. They are also indispensable tools for the systematic reflection and discussion of load-bearing behavior. The principle of superposition and the principle of section, concepts such as bending or geometric stiffness are essential for intellectual access to the understanding of load-bearing structures beyond the quantification of mechanical quantities and the use of calculation software.

Special demands on structural methods arise from the fact that complete structures as unique specimens (e.g. bridges, high-rise buildings, towers) cannot be subjected to "crash tests" or load tests and it must therefore be possible to rely on the predictive quality of the structural models and methods. Experimental investigations are only possible at material and component level. Last but not least, this is why the chairs of structural analysis worldwide are the driving scientific forces behind the development of modern, computer-oriented methods and their IT implementation, such as the finite element method in particular.

Typical in civil engineering are the large differences in scale between the dimensions of the material (micrometer range) and the supporting structure (bridge spans > 1 km) and the particularly long service life of supporting structures (> 100 years) as well as the associated uncertainties. This requires a combination of different areas of expertise, which only occur in such extremes in the construction industry and demand a correspondingly comprehensive engineering background from those involved.

The mission of structural analysis is to address the requirements associated with the special use of engineering structures, to develop suitable methods and models for this purpose and to develop innovative solutions in cooperation. This results in the current and future fields of activity and challenges listed below, which lie at the interfaces between architecture, technology and society.

Challenges and fields of action

Environment: This concerns the simulation of the dynamic interactions of the supporting structures with the surrounding media such as wind, water and subsoil. One example is the numerical wind tunnel as a field of activity with a particularly high level of innovation and need for action. Lightweight construction with new materials poses particular challenges.

Sustainability: Construction is traditionally and fundamentally oriented towards sustainability, the design aims to save materials and buildings should be durable. Nevertheless, the construction industry is responsible for a large proportion of the world's waste and CO2 emissions. Structural and dynamic methods are needed for construction and design. Fundamental methodological advances in structural analysis and dynamics are a prerequisite for progress and success in sustainable construction, including in lightweight construction and structural optimization

Architecture: In the field of "computational design" and structural optimization, i.e. the interaction between design and static-mechanical behaviour.

Safety: Advances in computer-oriented structural modeling to identify potentially unsafe parameters and monitoring of the building stock as well as support during the life cycle.

Digitalization: Effective models for calculations on overall models, modelling of the entire construction process and its interaction with structural behaviour, the integration of CAD and simulation, integration of simulation with digital production methods and interaction with modelling during construction using BIM. In the entire field of digitalization, there is also a great need and scope for action in structural analysis and structural dynamics.

High-performance computing: Development and implementation of highly efficient algorithms, for transient simulation of coupled problems, interactive design in real time, etc.

In principle, a Chair of Structural Analysis is absolutely essential at every construction faculty due to its interface function and methodological, scientific driving force. Chairs of Structural Analysis and Structural Dynamics are regularly important links in interdisciplinary projects with great potential for the successful acquisition of national and international projects with corresponding appeal.

Source: "Stellungnahme zur Bedeutung des Faches Baustatik - Baudynamik" from the Forschungsvereinigung Baustatik Baupraxis e.V. (Link to: https://baustatik-baupraxis.de/)