Skip to main content

A Multiscale Adaptive Mesh Refinement Approach to Architectured Steel Specification in the Design of a Frameless Stressed Skin Structure


This paper describes the development of a modelling approach for the design and fabrication of an incrementally formed, stressed skin metal structure. The term incremental forming refers to a progression of localised plastic deformation to impart 3D form onto a 2D metal sheet, directly from 3D design data. A brief introduction presents this fabrication concept, as well as the context of structures whose skin plays a significant structural role. Existing research into ISF privileges either the control of forming parameters to minimise geometric deviation, or the more accurate measurement of the impact of the forming process at the scale of the grain. But to enhance structural performance for architectural applications requires that both aspects are considered synthetically. We demonstrate a mesh-based approach that incorporates critical parameters at the scales of structure, element and material. Adaptive mesh refinement is used to support localised variance in resolution and information flow across these scales. The adaptation of mesh resolution is linked to structural analysis, panelisation, local geometric formation, connectivity, and the calculation of forming strains and material thinning.


  • Connection Point
  • Shear Connector
  • Adaptive Mesh Refinement
  • Lower Skin
  • Incremental Sheet Form

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 is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24208-8_2
  • Chapter length: 18 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   189.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-24208-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   249.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   249.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Fig. 16
Fig. 17
Fig. 18
Fig. 19
Fig. 20


  • Bagudanch I et al (2013) Forming force in single point incremental forming under different bending conditions. Proc Eng 63:354–360

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bailly D et al (2015) Flexible manufacturing of double-curved sheet metal panels for the realization of self-supporting freeform structures. In: Key engineering materials 639, Trans Tech Publ. pp 41–48

    Google Scholar 

  • Bouaziz O, Brechet Y, Embury JD (2008) Heterogeneous and architectured materials: a possible strategy for design of structural materials. Adv Eng Mater 10(1–2):24–36

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Brüninghaus J, Krewet C, Kuhlenkötter B (2013) Robot assisted asymmetric incremental sheet forming. In: RobArch 2012. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 155–160

    Google Scholar 

  • Campagna S, Kobbelt L, Seidel HP (1998) Directed edges—a scalable representation for triangle meshes. J Graph Tools 3(4):1–11

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Danckert J, Wanheim T (1979) The use of a square grid as an alternative to a circular grid in the determination of strains. J Mech Working Technol 3(1):5–15

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Echrif SBM, Hrairi M (2011) Research and progress in incremental sheet forming processes. Mater Manuf Process 26(11):1404–1414

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Emmens WC, Van den Boogaard AH (2007) Strain in shear, and material behaviour in incremental forming. In: Key engineering materials 344. Trans Tech Publ. pp 519–526

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson K, Allwood J (2009) The mechanics of incremental sheet forming. J Mater Process Technol 209(3):1158–1174

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jeswiet J et al (2005) Asymmetric single point incremental forming of sheet metal. CIRP Ann—Manuf Technology 54(2):88–114

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kalo A, Newsum MJ (2014) An investigation of robotic incremental sheet metal forming as a method for prototyping parametric architectural skins. In: Robotic fabrication in architecture, art and design 2014. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 33–49

    Google Scholar 

  • Kobbelt L et al (1998) Interactive multi-resolution modeling on arbitrary meshes. In: Proceedings of the 25th annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. ACM, New York, pp 105–114

    Google Scholar 

  • Lu B et al (2013) Feature-based tool path generation approach for incremental sheet forming process. J Mater Process Technol 213(7):1221–1233

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rauch M et al (2009) Tool path programming optimization for incremental sheet forming applications. Comput Aided Des 41(12):877–885

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Tisza M (2012) General overview of sheet incremental forming. Manuf Eng 55(1):113–120

    Google Scholar 

  • Trautz M, Herkrath R (2009) The application of folded plate principles on spatial structures with regular, irregular and free-form geometries. In: Symposium of the International association for shell and spatial structures (50th. 2009. Valencia). Proceedings of the evolution and trends in design, analysis and construction of shell and spatial structures. Editorial Universitat Politecnica de Valencia

    Google Scholar 

  • US Department of Energy (2015) Rapid freeform sheet metal. Accessed 15 Jun 2015

Download references


This project was undertaken as part of the Sapere Aude Advanced Grant research project “Complex Modelling,” supported by The Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF). The authors want to acknowledge the support of several collaborators: Clemens Preisinger and Robert Vierlinger of Bollinger Grohmann consulting engineers assisted in the forming of intuitions regarding structural behaviours and appropriate finite element modelling strategies to represent them; Daniel Piker and Will Pearson provided direct support with both the Kangaroo2 and Plankton libraries, and the development of computational tooling; the research departments DTU Mekanik supplied access to and assistance using their ISF-designated CNC rig, as well as insight into several ISF-related calculation techniques; robotic command and control was enabled through the software HAL; and introductory guidance regarding ISF operations was given from RWTH Aachen.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Nicholas .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Nicholas, P., Stasiuk, D., Nørgaard, E.C., Hutchinson, C., Thomsen, M.R. (2015). A Multiscale Adaptive Mesh Refinement Approach to Architectured Steel Specification in the Design of a Frameless Stressed Skin Structure. In: Thomsen, M., Tamke, M., Gengnagel, C., Faircloth, B., Scheurer, F. (eds) Modelling Behaviour. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-24206-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-24208-8

  • eBook Packages: EngineeringEngineering (R0)