University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars > Vector-based 3D Graphic Statics: Designing spatial structures in static equilibrium using form, force, and topological diagrams

Vector-based 3D Graphic Statics: Designing spatial structures in static equilibrium using form, force, and topological diagrams

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The geometric relation between form and force diagrams represents one of the most relevant characteristics of 2D graphic statics. On the one hand, this feature makes it possible to transform the form of a loaded structure while directly assessing the redistribution of its internal forces. On the other hand, the magnitude and direction of the forces within the structure can be adjusted while evaluating the modification of the form at the same time. Extending this property of graphic statics to the third dimension would open up new perspectives in the field of structural design.

The talk will present a vector-based 3D graphic statics framework that uses synthetic and intuitive graphical means for the design of spatial structures in static equilibrium, including trusses and strut-and-tie networks within a continuum of material. The framework is intended to support the collaborative work of structural engineers and architects from the conceptual phase of the design process. Like in 2D graphic statics, in the proposed vector-based approach to 3D graphic statics, both form and force diagrams are made out of vectors. Several procedures for the construction of vector-based 3D force diagrams for any given 3D form diagram with underlying planar or non-planar graphs are identified and described. An application of the proposed design framework to real design scenarios is presented through various case studies. These examples make use of a computational implementation of the proposed framework, which includes a graphic statics form-finding method based on the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM) approach.

Pierluigi D’Acunto Pierluigi D’Acunto is a Lecturer and Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Technologies in Architecture at ETH Zurich. His research is primarily focused on exploring the convergence of architecture and engineering through geometry and graphic statics. He studied Building Engineering and Architecture at the University of Pisa (Italy), and Emergent Technologies and Design at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (UK). In 2018, he obtained his PhD degree at the Chair of Structural Design at ETH Zurich.

Patrick Ole Ohlbrock Patrick Ole Ohlbrock is a PhD researcher at the Institute of Technologies in Architecture at ETH Zurich. His field of interest covers equilibrium modelling and computational implementations of graphical methods that support the structural design process. He studied Structural Engineering at the Technical University Munich (Germany) and received his Master degree in 2013.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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