Sfere2

SFERE2

Sfere2 is a user-friendly program for analysis of structures. Developed for 1st year students of the faculty of architecture, it is specially suited for use by newcomers in the world of mechanics.

Sfere2 applies state of the art technologies to provide a means for

unconditional, real-time calculated, real-time animated, structural analysis.

the development of sfere2 comprises the bulk of the work for my thesis which led to my graduation from the faculty of architecture, delft university of technology.

SFERE2 CONCEPT

The initial goal of the sfere2 project was to create an easy-to-use, -and above all- easy-to-understand structural analysis program. apart from achieving this initial goal, sfere2 also provides a means of examining dynamic mechanics and a means of doing Gaudi-like formfinding.

Sfere2 differs most from existing structural analysis applications in it's unconditional generation and animated presentation of calculation results. sfere2 uses a background processing method that calculates near realistic movement of the structure, and -importantly- does not require all kinds of abstract conditions to be met before analysis can commence. these features result in a program that allows non-expert users to develop a rudimentary grasp of the mechanics of three-dimensional structures.

- the user is shown the behaviour of a structure, instead of the results of a calculation -

SFERE2 vs. CLASSIC MECHANICS

the standard approach to analyzing a structure of a building is done in three steps:

  1. determining stability. is the structure able to carry the loads without large displacements; loosing it's original form?
  2. determining lineair elastic reaction stresses. using simple mathematics and laws of physics, determine what the stresses would be within the structure elements.
  3. checking strength. check whether the stresses are larger than the maximum stress allowed (forcing the elements to plastic deformation).

the main problem with standard, 'easy-to-use' structural analysis applications is they focus largely on the 2nd and 3rd step.    it is assumed that the user knows everything about stability; and this assumption is hardly ever true for newcomers to the field of mechanics.

this is where the unconditional calculation of sfere2 comes in:

- Sfere2 DOES calculate the effects of instability -

If an instable structure is entered, sfere2 shows how the structure would collapse; like the structure would in reality.
because of the iterative approach of the calculation methods, sfere2 also shows the dangers of second order effects like buckling, and allows for the analysis of tethered structures. This, in turn, allows the user to interactively design structures using Gaudi-like formfinding methods.

INTUITIVE FEEDBACK

Sfere2 uses openGl to display the properties of the structure as clear as possible.

  • the actual shape of the elements is drawn using the appropriate cross-section
  • materials are indicated by color
  • support conditions are displayed using intu´tive symbols
  • the deformed structure indicates the size and type of stress by color

TESTS

Sfere2 was tested by group of first-year students and the results were without exception positive. When asked what additional features the students would like to see most common answer was being able to Undo/Redo.

A number of students are using Sfere2 to do form-finding and to experiment with free-form architecture.

HISTORY

Sfere2 is the follow up of Sfere. Sfere was a shell I built for a commandline framework analysis program called Profan.

The real-time calculation concept of Sfere2 is continued in 2d form in Rosa, an online structural analysis application I built for the department for structural analysis of buildings.

The concept of the plugin driven application framework of Sfere2 was continued in the Cornerstone project.

SFERE2 INFORMATION / LINKS

linkdescription
downloaddownload Sfere2
technologyspecifics about the technology used in Sfere2
introductiononline introduction to the options and possibilities within sfere2 (beta release 2)
 
Krachtswerkingthe department for structural analysis of buildings, faculty of achitecture.
TO&Idepartment for computer science and design of technology, faculty of achitecture. TO&I created the opportunity for me to develop sfere2

YEAR

1998 - 2001