Adaptive glass panels using shape-memory alloys

Filipe Amarante Dos Santos, Chiara Bedon, Mariana Sacadura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to the growing application of laminated glass panels in building facades and roofs, tending towards the minimization of frameworks, substructures and supports, technological solutions based on the use of glass panels with increasingly wide dimensions and modern design principles are becoming more frequent. The growing use of structural glass applications is leading to "lighter" and "smarter" optimized design solutions. The design of such applications greatly depends on the material mechanical properties of their structural elements and on their sensitivity to ambient and loading conditions. This is the specific case of laminated glass, where a temperature and time loading sensitive interlayer is generally used to bond together two (or more) glass panes with brittle behavior and rather limited tensile resistance. In this research paper, a novel adaptive glass panel concept is developed by using shape-memory alloy (SMA) cables, and assessed by means of Finite-element numerical studies and experimental validation. Based on the case study of an existing laminated glass roof panel, several geometrical configurations of practical interest are investigated. A key role in the proposed approach is the application of external pre-stressing based on the Joule heating of the SMA bracing system. The structural efficiency of the cable system is emphasized by taking into account the effects of ordinary wind pressures and temperature variations. Due to the innovative adaptive control system, as shown, the structural performance of traditional laminated glass panels can be enhanced, e.g. optimized in terms of maximum displacements and stresses in the glass, as well as in the overall dimensions and thicknesses of the glass panes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-114
JournalGlass Structures & Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Laminated glass
  • Shape-memory alloys
  • Adaptive control
  • Finite-element numerical modeling
  • Experimental prototype


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