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Title: Web-based Interactive Polyhedral Graphics Statics Platform
This paper introduces a web-based interactive educational platform for 3D/polyhedral graphic statics (PGS) [1]. The Block Research Group (BRG) at ETH Zürich developed a dynamic learning and teaching platform for structural design. This tool is based on traditional graphic statics. It uses interactive 2D drawings to help designers and engineers with all skill levels to understand and utilize the methods [2]. However, polyhedral graphic statics is not easy to learn because of its characteristics in three-dimensional. All the existing computational design tools are heavily dependent on the modeling software such as Rhino or the Python-based computational framework like Compass [3]. In this research, we start with the procedural approach, developing libraries using JavaScript, Three.js, and WebGL to facilitate the construction by making it independent from any software. This framework is developed based on the mathematical and computational algorithms deriving the global equilibrium of the structure, optimizing the balanced relationship between the external magnitudes and the internal forces, visualizing the dynamic reciprocal polyhedral diagrams with corresponding topological data. This instant open-source application and the visualization interface provide a more operative platform for students, educators, practicers, and designers in an interactive manner, allowing them to learn not only the topological relationship but also to deepen their knowledge and understanding of structures in the steps for the construction of the form and force diagrams and analyze it. In the simplified single-node example, the multi-step geometric procedures intuitively illustrate 3D structural reciprocity concepts. With the intuitive control panel, the user can move the constraint point’s location through the inserted gumball function, the force direction of the form diagram will be dynamically changed from compression-only to tension and compression combined. Users can also explore and design innovative, efficient spatial structures with changeable boundary conditions and constraints through real-time manipulating both force distribution and geometric form, such as adding the number of supports or subdividing the global equilibrium in the force diagram. Eventually, there is an option to export the satisfying geometry as a suitable format to share with other fabrication tools. As the online educational environment with different types of geometric examples, it is valuable to use graphical approaches to teach the structural form in an exploratory manner.  more » « less
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International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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