KAROLA DIERICHS Architectural Research and Design

ITECH Master Thesis 2014 – B Castro Moore

Designed Tensile Ganulate Systems

Benjamin Castro Moore M.Sc.

Thesis Advisor
Karola Dierichs

Thesis Supervisor
Prof. Achim Menges

First Examiner
Prof. Achim Menges

Second Examiner
Prof. Jan Knippers

“…the physics of granular materials span a wide range of phenomena with many possible applications, ranging from the mundane to the celestial”
/-Jaeger, Nagel and Behringer

Granular materials can be thought of as large numbers of geometrically similar units in loose contact. At the same time, the behavior they display when assembled in large numbers is extremely unique. The knowledge of granular materials and their behavior is considerably underdeveloped within the scientific community. This novelty is even more prominent when considering the architectural realm, making the potential application of such behaviors at an architectural context a subject of high interest.

This thesis focuses on the study of highly non-convex granular materials, which are less explored within scientific studies than other types. This body of research aims to establish a relationship between the geometry and the behavior of the highly non-convex “S” shaped hook granular materials, and to apply the behavioural aspects of these units within the architectural context in a performative manner.

Due to the higher degree of concavity provided by the geometric “pockets” of the “S” shaped hook units, these granular materials possess the ability to geometrically interpenetrate each other, making them capable of handling both tensile and compressive forces contrary to convex or less non-convex units which merely interpenetrate geometrically without creating terminally interlocker connections. When granular materials are entangled in assemblies of larger numbers, they behave in manners similar to those of liquids; with no moment resisting joint or connections between each units, they are dynamical systems which can reconfigure themselves constantly throughout time and under different load conditions. Additionally, when large assemblies of these entangled units are submitted to energy in the form of vibration, they can disentangle themselves back to their singular unit form. Throughout this thesis, such qualities will be used to propose a spatially intervening building system in an architectural context and scale. (BM/KD)

Institute for Computational Design

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