Contemporary design approaches of adaptive structures enhanced to a great extent through digital technology, gradually acknowledge the fact that the area encompasses a number of disciplines, bringing together a number of distinct modes of investigation. Within this frame, the interactive development of a cable bending-active footbridge structure presented in the current paper aims at clarifying the process of integral design applied. The structural prototype consists of two parallel series of bending-active PETG members with initial inverted curvatures forming continuous elastic curvilinear elements, which are horizontally interconnected through cables. In a preliminary design stage, the structure is conceptualized through cyclically iterated physical modelling and preliminary finite element analysis. The design development stage is based on digital simulation, whereas the load-bearing and adaptive behaviour of the structure is examined and visualized in real time according to the pretension of the cables and predefined pedestrian movement scenarios, respectively. Following the construction design and manufacturing of the structural members, the design evaluation stage addresses beyond verification issues of the design proposed, structural optimization aspects through investigation of suitable pretension values of the cables and geometric characteristics of the bending-active members. The integral design approach of the adaptive structure is exemplary for integrating different modes of operation and digital investigation tools in achieving effective load-bearing characteristics and adaptability of the structure.
adaptive structures, bending-active members, hybrid systems, integral design, interdisciplinary design
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