Week 5: Physical x Digital Form Finding

Elvin Kee and Chiew Jia Hui

For Week 5, we conducted physical and digital studies on a selected pneumatic forms. We are interested in the creation of a system that incorporates lightweight, structural malleable pneumatics with a thin membrane, and we hypothesized that the pneumatic volumes are strong enough to behave as structural components to “prop” up the thin membrane.

Where physical modelling was involved, we tried to use balloons to mimic the properties of the pneumatic balloons due to the difficulty of creating seams on a plastic membrane. This initial study helped to confirm our initial guesses of whether an “air inflated beam” was possible.

Tests of balloons + plastic membrane

Next up, we are looking at creating a physical model that is closer to what we plan to design as a pneumatic structure, with more densely packed members. For this, we will be using stretchable fabric and balloons of a smaller length.

Finally, we are also in the process of developing physical simulations that are more representative of what we plan to do for our pneumatic structure. The structure seems to deflate over time at the moment, so we are looking at how to refine the grasshopper script to fit our purpose.

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