Buckling of gridshells: dome to free-form structures. Master’s thesis by Sabrina Pugnale

A good master’s thesis, dated 2013, on a very important issue of gridshell design: buckling. The author is Sabrina Pugnale, supervised by Dr Mario Sassone, at Politecnico di Torino. Some material can be found here, but I recommend to contact the author and get the full text.

Thesis abstract

Stability failure is one of the main issues concerning gridshell design. Member slenderness in steel gridshells is usually very high, and structural collapse is generally caused by buckling instead of material failure. Stability checks are therefore of great importance in a proper design process.

Since there are many types of potential failure modes and critical loads are in fact influenced by several parameters, the need of accurate research is fundamental. This work investigates the effect of various parameters on the buckling load of steel reticulated domes of circular plan by means of first order and second order Finite Element analyses. Thus, structural sensibility in respect to any of these parameters can be pointed out for future reference.

To further investigate the connection between form and structural behaviour, stability analyses of two very popular freeform reticulated shells (the British Museum court roof and the House for Hippopotamus at Berlin zoo) are carried out. The organisational set up for the whole process is presented as well, with in-depth illustration of the parametric tools used to model and analyse the structures.


Below, benchmarks on spherical domes (image courtesy: Sabrina Pugnale)

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Below, benchmarks on parabolical domes (image courtesy: Sabrina Pugnale)

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Below, benchmarks on the gridshell of the British Museum (image courtesy: Sabrina Pugnale)

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3 1959

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