REVIEW: SHELL TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMISATION RESEARCH IN “Mechanics, Materials and Structural Design” by Y.Tsuboi et al.

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REVIEW: SHELL TOPOLOGICAL OPTIMISATION RESEARCH IN “Mechanics, Materials and Structural Design” by Y.Tsuboi et al.

The Form Finding Lab research features in a chapter ‘Empirical forming and optimal shape’ written by Prof. Makoto Ohsaki, University of Hiroshima, Japan. Optimal shapes of shell and membrane structures have been found by empirical or experimental models such as Gaudi’s suspension model and Isler’s soap film model. These curved surfaces are defined by the principle of minimum energy. In the meantime mechanically optimal shapes can be obtained by numerical  optimization methods. As the aesthetic aspect of shell structures is closely related to mechanical efficiency, the empirically optimal shapes can now be reproduced by computational methods. In this chapter, first, characteristics of optimal shapes are discussed by simple examples of truss and arch. Next, tools for free curved shell optimization, the parametric surfaces and design sensitivity analysis method, are elaborated upon. Finally, approaches to create the empirically optimized shapes by optimization method (such as the Form Finding Lab Topology Optimisation study of the Knokke footbridge) using computers are introduced. The results suggest that the optimization of shapes can greatly improve mechanical performances.

This text is translated from Japanese by Yuki Otsubo.