Tailoring Self-Formation
Fabrication and Simulation of Membrane-Actuated Stiffness Gradient Composites




The aim of this research is to develop a material system of a prestressed membrane with integrated bending-active composites and highly differentiated stiffness whose material behavior drives the formation process from a 2d flat to a 3d doubly curved geometry. The digital fabrication technique of tailored fiber placement is employed to integrate fiber composite bending elements into a substrate of a high-strain prestressed membrane. The self-formation process is driven by the release of the prestress introduced into the membrane that acts as an actuator. The interaction of the forces, the materials and mainly the fiber layout will define the geometrical outcome of the double curved surface.

The main focus of this research is to analyse and reveal rules of this interaction and to achieve control of the formation process. In this manner we can determine the design space of the material system and suggest a design to fabrication framework. Given the material behavior based nature of this system, the evaluation of its scalability and structural performance is essential in order to identify the potential and limitations of the proposed double curved composite surfaces for applications in architecture. The proposed material system of self-formation offers the advantage to build lightweight, tailored double curved surfaces with variable curvatures with rapid digital fabrication and moldless, in one step formation.

Contact: Lotte Aldinger, Georgia Margariti

Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design – Prof. Dr.‐Ing. Jan Knippers
Institute of Computational Design and Construction – Prof. Achim Menges

Axel Körner, Seiichi Suzuki Erazo