Adjustable Module

University of Notre Dame Background
With economic losses from large-scale hazards growing from $75.5B in the 1960s to $659.9B in the 1990s and a prediction that these hazards will increase by a factor of 5 over the next 50 years, there is an urgent need for fundamental research in civil infrastructure. Furthermore, to mitigate the impact of damage to civil infrastructure in the immediate aftermath of natural and anthropogenic hazards and to support long term reconstruction of reliable, resilient, and sustainable structures after these events, it is imperative to modify how structures are built. Conventional modular construction systems include prefabricated, rigid modules of the same type and shape. The versatility of these systems is achieved by combining modules to achieve desired characteristics. Still, the rigidity of conventional modules limits the forms that can be constructed, the structural efficiency, and the span/loads that can be achieved.
Technology Overview
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have recently developed a new type of module which has a shape that can be adjusted to achieve structures with a wide variety of forms and variable depths. This novel technology re-imagines the module to be adjustable, which introduces flexibility of form in modular construction. Advantages of the adjustable module compared to conventional systems include enhanced versatility and efficiency of the structures, in addition to larger loads being supported and longer spans achieved from less material. Applications of this new approach to modular construction include, but are not limited to, modular bridges, modular buildings, and form work or scaffolding for the erection of structures.
Further Details:
Wang, Yao & Thrall, A.P. & Zoli, Theodore. (2016). “Adjustable module for variable depth steel arch bridges.” Journal of Constructional Steel Research. 126. 163-173.10.1016/j.jcsr.2016.07.014
Benefits

Modules can be prefabricated in high-quality controlled facilities- reduced fabrication costs and increased quality standards
Enhanced versatility as a wider variety of forms can be achieved by the same module
Longer spans achieved and higher loads carried as a result of enhanced possibilities of form and enhanced structural efficiency

Applications

Global Modular Construction Market: $72.11B in 2020, expected to reach $114.78B by 2028 with CAGR of 6.1%

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