Gaudi catenary

The catenary is the ideal curve for an arch which supports only its own weight. When the centerline of an arch is made to follow the curve of an up-side-down catenary, the arch endures almost pure compression, in which no significant bending moment occurs inside the material. If the arch is made of individual elements whose contacting surfaces are perpendicular to the curve of the arch, no significant shear forces are present at these contacting surfaces. The thrust of the arch at its two ends is tangent to its centerline.

Catenary behaviour

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CatenaryCAD is an architectural Design Tool which makes possible the development of catenary structures in a digital format.

Construction detail

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The model have been created with catenary shape using a chain as the structure. To figure out how the outer skin fits on the structure it has been developed a detailed model.

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In physics and geometry, the catenary is the theoretical shape a hanging chain or cable will assume when supported at its ends and acted on only by its own weight. Its surface of revolution, the catenoid, is a minimal surface and will be the shape of a soap film bounded by two circles. The curve is the graph os the hyperbolic cosine function, which has a U-like shape, similarin appearance to a parabola. The equation (up to translation and rotation) of a catenary in Cartesian coordinates has the form

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A hanging chain forms a typical catenary.

The silk on a spider's web forming multiple elastic catenaries

Catenary arch kiln under construction over temporary form

In antiquity, the curvature of the inverted catenary was intuitively discovered and found to lead to stable arches and vaults. A spectacular example remains in the Taq-i Kisra in Ctesiphon

Model showing the funicular and the antifunicular structure.

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Practice 03 - Group 02 - Publish

The catenary is the ideal curve for an arch which supports only its own weight. When the centerline of an arch is made to follow the curve o...

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