Research Output

Form finding and structural analysis of actively bent timber grid shells

  Grid shells are efficient structural systems covering large open spaces with relatively small amount of materials. Also, post forming techniques allow realization of geometrically complex (free-form) shapes by means of standard connection systems. However, due to complexity of the analysis–design process, they are rarely utilized in construction design. In this paper, a ‘facilitating’ numerical framework is introduced in which, for a given continuous reference shape, a geometrically similar discrete model is found by implementation of a six degree of freedom formulation of the Dynamic Relaxation method, to handle members bending and torsional stiffness. A grid cutting pattern algorithm is introduced, as well as methods to numerically simulate the double-layer construction technique and a novel (single-node) cylindrical joint model. The methods are extensively tested and validated on a range of structures, from ‘simple’ single-rod cases to more complex, actively bent, grid shell frameworks.

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  • Date:

    13 October 2014

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  • Library of Congress:

    TH Building construction

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    690.1 Structural elements


D’Amico, B., Kermani, A., & Zhang, H. (2014). Form finding and structural analysis of actively bent timber grid shells. Engineering Structures, 81, 195-207.



Form finding; Grid shell; Timber structure; Active bending; Dynamic Relaxation; Cylindrical joint; Velocity Verlet; Newton Raphson; Non-linear analysis; Mesh data structure

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