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Designing Regular and Irregular Elastic Gridshells by Six DOF Dynamic Relaxation, 4th Design Modelling Symposium Berlin “Rethinking Prototyping”, 28 September until October 2013, University of the Arts in Berlin, Germany
An elastic grid shell defined in this paper is a single-layer or double-layer shell structure that consists of initially straight and continuous members, has equal/regular or various/irregular grid lengths and allows scissoring movements in the joints during the erection process. Designing a grid shell of this type needs to fulfil many geometrical and mechanical constraints. The grid pattern needs to be as close to the target surface as possible. Meanwhile, important from material aspects, an ideal grid pattern should exhibit the lowest strain energy compared with other patterns.

Most of form-finding methods for elastic grid shells are based on simplified structural models, which consist of only three degrees of freedom (DOF) per node, such that bending and torsion effects cannot be accurately considered. We use dynamic relaxation method (DR) with 6 DOF per node and Bernoulli beam elements, which have 12 DOF each, to solve the optimized grid pattern, which fulfils the geometric constraint and exhibits the lowest strain energy. One advantage of our scheme is that it can handle both the form-finding and loading analyses. The obtained form can be directly transformed to a bearing structure. There is no need to transfer the form-finding result to another finite-element solver.

To address the feature of bending-active elastic grid shells, we demonstrate a simple method to create pre-stress in grid shells such that we can start the form-finding or the loading analysis from a strained geometry. With this method, we are no longer restricted from beginning in an unstrained state and, thus, the tedious and tricky pre-stressing procedure for bending-active structures is prevented.

The projection method and constraint force method are integrated into our scheme. The projection method is applied to find grid patterns that exactly fulfil the geometric constraints, while the constraint force method allows the obtained forms to deviate from the target surfaces. The fitness of the obtained forms to the target surfaces is controlled by the magnitude of constraint forces. Smaller constraint forces, which result in less fitness, generate grid patterns that exhibit lower strain energy.

The profile stiffness can be used as an active factor in the form-finding process. The real stiffness (a profile stiffness of a practical profile that can be used in the bearing structure) is useful to explore the structural behaviour of elastic grids under geometric constraints. Besides, the real stiffness facilitates the form-finding of a grid pattern in accordance with the pre-determined grid lengths. Meanwhile, the fictitious stiffness (a profile stiffness that is designed on purpose and is only used in the form-finding stage) enables the grids to have a larger range of strained lengths, which facilitates the reduction of bending stresses and can be utilized to generate smoothly curved grid patterns with various grid lengths.
Ansprechpartner: Li, J. .; Knippers, J.

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