Investigating the Performance of a Curved Profile

The Cycas Thouarsii (Madagascar Sago) is a subtropical plant from the Genus: Cycas. Their resistance to hurricanes, wildfires and droughts is part of the reason for their continued survival to the present day. Understanding the structural composition of the plants will help establish what naturally occurring systems allow to the plant to be so durable.

The stems of the plant show utilise a V/U shaped structure which improves stability.

Testing variations of the ‘V’ shaped base inspired by the Cycad will help understand the relationship between a curved profile and strength/durability.

This Investigation shows how different curves perform under gravitational load.

Curve Test: Paper Cantilever I

The experiment began with pieces of paper cut at the same length. Then they were cut in length until the piece of paper stayed upright under its own weight.

Curve Test: Paper Cantilever II

The geometries were produced in Grasshopper, utilising the graph mapper for mathematical curves. Since the Cycad plant has a stem in the shape of a Parabola / V, I began by testing how increasing the depth of a parabola curve can increase the performance of the paper cut out.

Following the initial experiment, the other pieces of paper that failed were trimmed until they stood upright against gravity.
The Length of each extrusion was measured, which again found that the ‘Circle, Ellipse, and Sinc’ Curves were the most structurally sound. The parabola curve also performed greater than expected, with a similar extrusion length to the Sinc Curve.

Curve Test: Plywood Cantilever

The purpose of the experiment was to see if Plywood performs in a similar way to paper when conducting the same tests.

In order to get the plywood to bend into the desired forms, the plywood was initially scored by the laser cutter on one side of the sheet. These scores allowed gaps to be produced between the sheets of the plywood when bending.

Plywood Array :

The purpose of this experiment is to understand how the curved plywood experiment performs under various arrangements. The base model features arrays with varying angles, and distances apart in order to better understand how the curves can look and connect together.

The second part of this investigation set out to understand how the plywood reacts to varying degrees of tension. String tension members were connected to the cylindrical array in a similar manor to the arrangement found in pine cones.

Plywood : 180 x 360

Utilising the curve of the plywood, investigation was conducted into the various degrees in which the wood can bend.