IASS HANGAI PRIZE: Shape-Finding of a Deployable Structure Using Simulated Annealing

Ashley Thrall wins the prestigious 2011 IASS Hangai Prize her paper “Shape-Finding of a Deployable Structure Using Simulated Annealing” based on her doctoral work in the Form Finding Lab.


Finding efficient forms and section profiles for a deploying structure is a challenging design problem traditionally approached through trial and error.  Alternatively, heuristic search algorithms can be used to pursue an optimal geometry and design the section profiles.  This paper will propose a methodology for the design and optimization of a deploying structure for minimum self-weight using a Simulated Annealing algorithm.  The design variables are 1) geometric variables that define the system throughout deployment and 2) the section profiles of each element.  The constraints include 1) geometric requirements that ensure proper deployment and 2) section profile design specifications defined by design code.  This methodology will be demonstrated for a deploying pantograph, but could be employed for the design of other deployable structures, including retractable roofs and expandable shelters.

 Ashley Thrall 

Cardinal John O’Hara, C.S.C. Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences

Kinetic Structures Laboratory 

University of Notre Dame