HyparActive: A Design Exploration Tool for Multi-segment Hyperbolic Paraboloid Shells
Davis, John Winston
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While thin shell structures could offer efficient solutions to modern design problems, designer familiarity with the strengths and limitations of the form have declined in recent years. Thin shell structures are seeing a resurgence of interest due to modern fabrication techniques, but are hampered by the difficulty of balancing form manipulation and structural analysis concerns during early design. In this paper we describe HyparActive, a software tool developed specifically to help designers explore and design a remarkably wide range of thin shell forms. HyparActive provides simple interactive 3D form-manipulation tools for the designer and quick Finite Element Analysis (FEA) feedback regarding the shell's structural behavior. Developed in an algorithmic modeling environment, the tool allows users to define, manipulate and visualize a parametric form consisting of one or more hyperbolic paraboloid (hypar) shell fragments. The shell is put through a quick FEA analysis, using user-specified material properties, and the resulting stresses are used to color-code the model rendering, highlighting overstressed areas. The quick feedback available on a standard PC means the designer can interactively explore how form and stress distributions interact, informing design decisions and enhancing their design "intuition." The thesis also reflects on the challenges of developing an interactive learning tool in a parametric modeling environment and the benefits of including performance analysis in the conceptual design phase.
- Architecture