3d-Printed Bending-Active Formwork for Shell Structures



This paper presents a novel building technique for the formwork of thin shell structures with 3d-printed bending-active mesh sheets. To enhance the structural stiffness of the flexible plastic materials, bending-active form is applied to utilize the geometry stiffening effect through the large deformation of bending. As it is the main problem to determine the final geometry of the bent surface, design methods with consideration of the numerical simulation is researched and both simulations via dynamic relaxation and finite element method are presented. Several demonstrator pavilions and the building process are shown to test the feasibilities of the presented building techniques in the real shell project. It is expected that this method could be applied into more thin shell projects to realize an efficient building technology with less exhaust of materials.


Bending-active Shell structure Formwork 3d printing Simulation 



Prof. Philippe Block, Prof. Philip F. Yuan, Dr. Ing. Xiang Wang, Kam-Ming Mark Tam, Gene Ting-Chun Kao, Zain Karsan, Alex Beaudouin, Ce Li, Ben Hoyle, Molly Mason, Weizhe Gao, Weiran Zhu, Zhe Guo, Dalma Foldesi, Hyerin Lee, Jung In Seo, Anna Vasileiou, Youyuan Luo, D, Xiao Zhang, Liming Zhang and Hua Chai.

This research is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51578378).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and PlanningMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.Block Research Group, Institute of Technology in ArchitectureSwiss Federal Institute of Technology in ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  5. 5.College of Architecture and Urban PlanningTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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