Rasha Alshami, Brad Elsbury
DESIGN FAB_TRIX: A design to fabrication matrix with emphasis on fiber reinforced plastic
TUTORS: Axel Körner, James Solly
SUPERVISORS: Prof. Jan Knippers, Achim Menges
Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE)
institute for computational design and construction (ICD)
Institute of Aircraft Construction (IFB)
This thesis develops a design to fabrication matrix for elastically bent structures. The research positions itself at the intersection of tessellation, materiality, and fabrication with emphasis on the role of materiality in relation to their crossing. Building up on the current research of bending-active structures conducted at ITKE and ICD at the University of Stuttgart, the aim of the thesis is to enrich existing research on bending-active structures by developing a design to fabrication matrix with a main focus on the use of fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP). Therefore, the thesis is divided into two parts: Part one is the development of a digital design tool within the grasshopper 3d environment to design, simulate and to prepare production data for bending-active structures. This tool digitally bridges design and materialization processes facilitating the research, design, and realization of bending-active structures. The second part focuses on physical prototyping for elastically bent structural building components with use of FRP. This part is more technical in nature and informs more the technical fabrication process of FRPs and its utilization in bending-active structures. The results of both parts conclude in a set of instructions of how to build elastically bent structural systems with use of fiber reinforced plastics.
The research project is divided into five interrelated parts: the first part involves a theoretical investigation of previous research and cases related to elastically bent structures with the aim of extracting information of different tessellation methods, material explorations and fabrication techniques. The second part integrates and digitizes the previously analyzed research into a grasshopper tool to facilitate a design to fabrication matrix through a materialization process that is compounded of several material and physical tests to inform the digital design tool. The third part involves a selection criteria of certain tessellation methods, material systems and fabrication techniques to further advance and enrich the existing research in bending-active structures. As a result of the applied selection criteria, this research found that FRP materials would add more to the previous research regarding bending-active structures. The fourth part of this research addresses in detail FRP materials, their design and manufacturing methods in a form of a handbook guide linked to the grasshopper tool that indicates how to physically build and construct elastically bent FRP structures. The fifth and last part of this thesis is building up a demonstrator where all findings of previous parts are put and tested in a prototype model.