Interactive Equilibrium Modelling

Lachauer L. and Block P.
International Journal of Space Structures
doi: 10.1260/0266-3511.29.1.25

This paper presents a novel method for computer-aided equilibrium modelling of structures in early design stages. Based on the force density method, an iterative procedure is developed that enables the generation of spatial kinematic pin-jointed structures that are in equilibrium close to a given input geometry, while satisfying additional constraints on both geometry and forces. This method forms the core of an interactive form-finding process that consists of alternating steps of modelling and computational optimization. In each modelling step, the user is able to modify geometry, topology, external forces and constraints of the structure. In each optimization step, equilibrium is re-established while respecting the user-defined constraints. A prototype has been implemented within an existing CAD software package, and three examples illustrate the use of the presented method, ranging from a playful exploration of surprising shapes to the rationalization of structural geometry. The method allows to intuitively explore the formal freedom of spatial equilibrium shapes with mixed compression and tension forces, within hard, user-defined constraints. In conclusion, it is claimed that by providing interactive equilibrium modelling methods, the design of new, surprising spatial forms with efficient structural behaviour is facilitated.


    author  = "Lachauer, L. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Interactive Equilibrium Modelling",
    journal = "International Journal of Space Structures",
    year    = "2014",
    volume  = "29",
    number  = "1",
    pages   = "25-37",
    month   = "March",
    doi     = "10.1260/0266-3511.29.1.25",
    note    = "",

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