Automatic Design of Cable-Tensioned Glass Shells

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Journal Article
Computer Graphics Forum, 2019
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© 2019 The Authors Computer Graphics Forum © 2019 The Eurographics Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. We propose an optimization algorithm for the design of post-tensioned architectural shell structures, composed of triangular glass panels, in which glass has a load-bearing function. Due to its brittle nature, glass can fail when it is subject to tensile forces. Hence, we enrich the structure with a cable net, which is specifically designed to post-tension the shell, relieving the underlying glass structure from tension. We automatically derive an optimized cable layout, together with the appropriate pre-load of each cable. The method is driven by a physically based static analysis of the shell subject to its service load. We assess our approach by applying non-linear finite element analysis to several real-scale application scenarios. Such a method of cable tensioning produces glass shells that are optimized from the material usage viewpoint since they exploit the high compression strength of glass. As a result, they are lightweight and robust. Both aesthetic and static qualities are improved with respect to grid shell competitors.
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