This research outlines a digital workflow for the design of composite shells using CNC fabrication and novel composite lay-up techniques. The proposed workflow was applied to a variety of structural conditions that were selected to provide a wide range of stress and strain values for analysis and interpretation. The linear finite element analysis (FEA) tool Millipede, a Grasshopper plugin for Rhinoceros 5.0, was used to analyze the structural performance of the various design conditions. The result of the analysis informed a catalog of reinforcement and stiffening strategies for a composite sandwich panel building envelope, including variable core thickness, tailored fiber placement and novel corrugation patterns. Three prototype panels were constructed to visualize the analysis results at full scale and test various CNC fabrication strategies. Rather than culminating in a new set of standards or a single design solution, this research develops a process that allows designers to translate output from computational structural analysis into architectural expression. Interpretation techniques were implemented in order to account not only for aesthetic expressions, but also to respond to fabrication and assembly constraints. By developing a lexicon of the strategies designers can use to analyze and interpret structural data for composite sandwich panels, we can expand and advance the possible material palette of architecture.
with Jared Friedman and Nicholas Jacobson