Curated deformation – Conference Proceeding


Mühlich M., Horvath D., Körner A.,
La Magna R., Knippers J.
Curated deformation – dynamic shape change
of tessellated surfaces.
IASS 2020/21: Inspiring the Next Generation,
Surrey, UK, 2021

This paper presents the development of an actively controlled shape changing surface-like structure, where geometric adaptivity is utilised by local elastic deformation on the component level. Besides the physical development of a proof-of-concept demonstrator, the research proposes a digital form-driving process, a computational workflow which allows the design and fast simulation of the shape changing structure, as well as the digital control of the actuation on the component level. The proposed material system consists of an initially flat surface, which is tessellated into single components based on a hexagonal grid. Each cell is composed of a three-layer system, where a pneumatic cushion is placed in the middle of two bending active plates with strategic cut-outs. In this way, each cell can be pneumatically actuated and therefore elastically deformed. The induced bending in the outer plates leads to a controlled change of area-the cells shrink or expand. By controlling this local behaviour within the global arrangement according to principle geometric rules it is possible to achieve a controlled shape change from an initially flat surface to an anticlastic or synclastic geometric configuration. To design, simulate and control the shape change, the authors propose a digital form driving process. Here, the cells are abstracted and simplified into polygons, which can shrink and expand within a given range, according to the proposed physical system. This allows for the fast simulation of different actuation patterns and resulting geometric changes. The abstract values of shrinkage or expansion of each cell can be translated into pressure values and are used to control the pneumatic actuators in the physical demonstrator.