Load-path optimisation of funicular networks

Liew A., Pagonakis D., Van Mele T. and Block P.
doi: 10.1007/s11012-017-0714-1

This paper describes the use of load-path optimisation for discrete compression vaults. The presented approach allows for the finding of the funicular solution for a network layout defined in plan, that has the lowest volume for the given boundary conditions. The compression-only thrust networks are constructed with Thrust Network Analysis by assigning force densities to the network's independent edges. By defining a load-path function and deriving its associated gradient and Hessian functions, optimisation routines were used to find the optimum independent force densities that minimised the load-path function subject to compression only restraints. A selection of example cases showed a dependence of the optimum load-path and force distribution on the network topology. Appropriate selection of the network pattern encouraged the flow of compression forces such that efficient vaulting action could form internally, avoiding long network edges with high force densities. A general, non-orthogonal network example showed that vaulted structures of high network indeterminacy can be investigated both directly for weight minimisation, and for the understanding of efficient thrust network patterns within the structure.


    author  = "Liew, A. and Pagonakis, D. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Load-path optimisation of funicular networks",
    journal = "Meccanica",
    year    = "2018",
    volume  = "53",
    number  = "1",
    pages   = "279-294",
    month   = "",
    doi     = "10.1007/s11012-017-0714-1",
    note    = "",

Related publications

Block P. and Lachauer L.Three-dimensional Funicular Analysis of Masonry Vaults,Mechanics Research Communications,56: 53-60,2014.
Van Mele T. and Block P.Algebraic Graph Statics,Computer-Aided Design,53: 104-116,2014.


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