Coupled Rigid-Block Analysis: Stability-Aware Design of Complex Discrete-Element Assemblies

Kao G. T.-C., Iannuzzo A., Thomaszewski B., Coros S., Van Mele T. and Block P.
Computer-Aided Design
doi: 10.1016/j.cad.2022.103216

The rigid-block equilibrium (RBE) method uses a penalty formulation to measure structural infeasibility or to guide the design of stable discrete-element assemblies from unstable geometry. However, RBE is a purely force-based formulation, and it incorrectly describes stability when complex interface geometries are involved. To overcome this issue, this paper introduces the coupled rigid-block analysis (CRA) method, a more robust approach building upon RBE’s strengths. The CRA method combines equilibrium and kinematics in a penalty formulation in a nonlinear programming problem. An extensive benchmark campaign is used to show how CRA enables accurate modelling of complex three-dimensional discrete-element assemblies formed by rigid blocks. In addition, an interactive stability-aware design process to guide user design towards structurally-sound assemblies is proposed. Finally, the potential of our method for real-world problems is demonstrated by designing complex and scaffolding-free physical models.


    author  = "Kao, G. T.-C. and Iannuzzo, A. and Thomaszewski, B. and Coros, S. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Coupled Rigid-Block Analysis: Stability-Aware Design of Complex Discrete-Element Assemblies",
    journal = "Computer-Aided Design",
    year    = "2022",
    volume  = "146",
    number  = "",
    pages   = "103216",
    month   = "May",
    doi     = "10.1016/j.cad.2022.103216",
    note    = "",

Related publications

There are no items.



ETH Zurich
Institute of Technology in Architecture
Block Research Group
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 1, HIB E 45
8093 Zurich, Switzerland

+41 44 633 38 35  phone
+41 44 633 10 53  fax

Copyright © 2009-2022 Block Research Group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.