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Title: Performative Porosity – adaptive infills for concrete parts
This research investigates the design of structurally performant, lightweight architectural elements produced through concrete 3D printing (C3DP). Traditionally, concrete requires dense and sturdy formwork, whose production adds significantly to the total cost and results in massive and heavy parts after demolding. C3DP offers the unique opportunity to both eliminate the need for formwork and to create lighter parts by introducing internal voids and cavities. The advent of additive manufacturing in a broad range of scales, materials, industries, and applications, led to increased interest and intense research into different types of porous structures, their geometry, and structural performance under various boundary conditions. Precise control over the sparse distribution of material allows not only for parts with similar strength at reduced mass but even for modifications of mechanical properties, like turning brittle materials into elastic or shock-absorbent ones. While with powder-based additive manufacturing processes like metal 3D printing, truss-based lattices have become very popular for the light-weighting of parts or to provide tissue growth scaffolds for medical implants, their geometry – a sparse space frame resulting in numerous individual contour islands and accentuated overhangs – cannot as easily be produced by C3DP, which is based on a continuous material extrusion. Alternative types of micro-structures, so-called triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS), are better suited for this process as they are, as their name suggests, consisting of one continuous surface dividing space into two separate but interwoven subspaces. TPMS are therefore very popular for the efficient design of heat exchangers. We develop and present a continuous and integrated workflow, in which the architectural elements and their structural requirements are designed through transitioning back and forth between the force and the form diagram using 3D graphic statics [1]. The members and their topology from the abstract graph of the conceptual form diagram are seamlessly connected to the volumetric modeling (VM) framework, responsible for the definition of the part geometry [2]. VM represents form assigned distance functions (SDF) and can easily handle complex topologies and flawless Boolean operations of not only the outer shell geometry but also the internal micro-structural infill patterns (Fig. 1, a). In an iterative feedback loop, the infill can be further optimized to leave the material only along certain internal stress trajectories (force flows). This functional grading controlling the relative density is done based on the FE analysis results. The stress distribution is thereby defined as a three-dimensional field (Fig. 1, b). Its values can factor into the SDF equation and be used to modify the wavelength (periodicity) of the TPMS, the local thickness of the surface shell, the solid to void fraction by shifting the threshold iso-value or even the alignment and orientation of the unit cells (Fig. 1, c). They can be arranged in an orthogonal, polar- or even spherical coordinate system to optimally adapt to structural necessities. The TPMS pattern can also gradually transition from one type into another type along the gradient of a spatial function.  more » « less
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International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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