Decomposing three-dimensional shapes into self-supporting discrete element assemblies

Frick U., Van Mele T. and Block P.
Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium 2015
Springer International Publishing
doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-24208-8_16

This study investigates a computational design approach to generate volumetric decompositions of given, arbitrary, three-dimensional shapes into self-supporting, discrete-element assemblies. These assemblies are structures formed by individual units that remain in equilibrium solely as a result of compressive and frictional contact forces between the elements. This paper presents a prototypical implementation of a decomposition tool into a CAD software, focusing on user-controlled design to generate such assemblies. The implementation provides an interactive design environment including real time visual feedback, in which the design space of self-supporting block assemblies can be explored and expanded. Some surprising results of such explorations are included and discussed.


    author    = "Frick, U. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P.",
    title     = "Decomposing three-dimensional shapes into self-supporting discrete element assemblies",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium 2015",
    year      = "2015",
    editor    = "Ramsgaard Thomsen, M. and Tamke, M. and Gengnagel, C. and Faircloth, B. and Scheurer, F.",
    volume    = "",
    number    = "",
    pages     = "187-201",
    publisher = "Springer International Publishing",
    address   = "Copenhagen",
    month     = "",
    doi       = "10.1007/978-3-319-24208-8_16",
    note      = "",

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