X-Shells are a new structural system for deployable gridshells recently developed at the Geometric Computing Laboratory of EPFL. Based on a scissor linkage mechanism, an X-shell is designed to deploy from a simple, compact state towards a carefully controlled 3D target shape. Slender beam elements bend and twist in the linkage to assume a static equilibrium state that minimizes internal stresses. Physics-based simulation and advanced numerical optimization facilitate the design of intricate freeform surfaces that can be deployed without the need of supports or scaffolding.
These computational tools have developed with homogeneous and isotropic materials in mind that have predictable mechanical behavior. Raw bamboo, however, as a naturally grown, highly inhomogeneous and anisotropic material is difficult to model in numerical optimizations. To address this challenge, we rely on geometry as the universal language of form. Specifically, we study a new class of deployable cylindrical structure that can be connected at woven nodes to form stable, yet light-weight structures.
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