Polymers, Vol. 15, Pages 2466: A Study of Free-Form Shape Rationalization Using Biomimicry as Inspiration
Polymers doi: 10.3390/polym15112466
Gaurab Sundar Dutta
Bridging the gap between the material and geometrical aspects of a structure is critical in lightweight construction. Throughout the history of structural development, shape rationalization has been of prime focus for designers and architects, with biological forms being a major source of inspiration. In this work, an attempt is made to integrate different phases of design, construction, and fabrication under a single framework of parametric modeling with the help of visual programming. The idea is to offer a novel free-form shape rationalization process that can be realized with unidirectional materials. Taking inspiration from the growth of a plant, we established a relationship between form and force, which can be translated into different shapes using mathematical operators. Different prototypes of generated shapes were constructed using a combination of existing manufacturing processes to test the validity of the concept in both isotropic and anisotropic material domains. Moreover, for each material/manufacturing combination, generated geometrical shapes were compared with other equivalent and more conventional geometrical constructions, with compressive load-test results being the qualitative measure for each use case. Eventually, a 6-axis robot emulator was integrated with the setup, and corresponding adjustments were made such that a true free-form geometry could be visualized in a 3D space, thus closing the loop of digital fabrication.
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