Vector-Based 3D Graphic Statics: a framework for the design of spatial structures based on the relation between form and forces

This article develops a vector-based 3D graphic statics framework that uses synthetic and intuitive graphical means for the analysis and design of spatial structures such as networks of bar elements in static equilibrium. It is intended to support the collaborative work of structural engineers and architects from the conceptual phase of the design process. Several procedures for the construction of a vector-based 3D force diagram for any given 3D form diagram with an underlying planar or non-planar graph are identified and described. In the non-planar case, the proposed procedures rely on the preliminary topological planarization of the graph by cutting the crossing edges and reconnecting them to one or more newly inserted auxiliary vertices. The resulting planar graph can be then used as a base for the assembly of the 3D force diagram, without altering the static equilibrium of the structure. An implementation of the proposed framework to real design scenarios is presented through two case studies. These examples show how to take advantage of the bi-directional manipulation of the diagrams in the structural design process.

Published in:
International Journal of Solids and Structures, 167, 58-70
Feb 18 2019
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 Record created 2019-03-08, last modified 2019-06-19

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