Decomposing Three-Dimensional Shapes into Self-supporting, Discrete-Element Assemblies



This study investigates a computational design approach to generate volumetric decompositions of given, arbitrary, three-dimensional shapes into self supporting, discrete-element assemblies. These assemblies are structures formed by individual units that remain in equilibrium solely as a result of compressive and frictional contact forces between the elements. This paper presents a prototypical implementation of a decomposition tool into a CAD software, focusing on user-controlled design to generate such assemblies. The implementation provides an interactive design environment including real time visual feedback, in which the design space of self-supporting block assemblies can be explored and expanded. Some surprising results of such explorations are included and discussed.


Visual Feedback Interface Force Support Interface Structural Analysis Method Real Time Visual Feedback 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the NCCR Digital Fabrication, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (NCCR Digital Fabrication Agreement # 51NF40-141853).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Block Research GroupETH Zurich Institute of Technology in ArchitectureZurichSwitzerland

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