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Entangeld Granulates. Designed Tensile Granulate Systems.

Benjamin Castro Moore M.Sc.

Thesis Adviser: Karola Dierichs
Thesis Supervisor: Prof. Achim Menges

First Examiner: Prof. Achim Menges
Second Examiner: Prof. Jan Knippers

“…the physics of granular materials span a wide range of phenomena with many possible applications, ranging from the mundane to the celestial”

/-Jaeger, Nagel and Behringer

Granulates can be thought of as large numbers of geometrically similar units in loose contact. At the same time, the behavior they display when assembled in large numbers is extremely unique. The knowledge of granulates and their behavior is considerably underdeveloped within the scientific community. This novelty is even more prominent when considering the architectural realm, making the potential application of such behaviors at an architectural context a subject of high interest.

This thesis focuses on the study of highly non-convex granulates, which are less explored within scientific studies than other types. This body of research aims to establish a relationship between the geometry and the behavior of the super concave “S” shaped hook granulates, and to apply the behavioural aspects of these units within the architectural context in a performative manner.

Due to the higher degree of concavity provided by the geometric “pockets” of the “S” shaped hook units, these granulates possess the ability to geometrically interpenetrate each other, making them capable of handling both tensile and compressive forces (contrary to convex or less concave units which merely interpenetrate geometrically without creating terminally interlocker connections). When granulates are entangled in assemblies of larger numbers, they behave in manners similar to those of liquids; with no moment resisting joint or connections between each units, they are dynamical systems which can reconfigure themselves constantly throughout time and under different load conditions. Additionally, when large assemblies of these entangled units are submitted to energy in the form of vibration, they can disentangle themselves back to their singular unit form. Throughout this thesis, such qualities will be used to propose a spatially intervening building system in an architectural context and scale.