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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

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XX. / RE [FLEX]

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

BAMBOO is an invasive specie with lots of different physical qualities and potentials. It has stiffness in some parts and natural flexibility in other parts. Therefore, it would be interesting to explore and mutate those properties into something innovative. The team is interested in taking those qualities and challenging them through mutating what is static to flexible and transforming the concept of a rigid structure to a modifiable and flexible structure. Introduction of technology in this process was key for the success of this research on actuation. STRUCTURE is adaptable and flexible using actuation methods and techniques. The idea is transforming static parts of this plant into flexible parts and alter the concept of a rigid structure to a modifiable and flexible structure using different cutting techniques and integrating technology. The project is a flexible and interactive structure. The structure that is usually rigid becomes flexible and dynamic due to actuation techniques and technologies implemented for the joints and bamboo strips. Experimenting with different cutting techniques was necessary to reach different levels of flexibility or angles. Negative subtracting, slicing, and CNC milling are some of the techniques utilized to accomplish the design goals. Some early experiments failed while others were more successful depending on the degree of flexibility and fragility. At the same time, systems of different fixed and flexible joints were designed, 3d printed, and tested on the bamboo. The final joints use bracket connection and bamboo covers. However, flexibility itself is not enough. The integration of technology is key to creating dynamic movements. Incorporating servo motors triggered by motion detectors and connecting them to the bamboo pieces using wires is the process used to create movement in the structure. 04


Motion detectors are introduced to detect visitors’ movements and the structure responds accordingly. Programming sensors and movement is a precise task in which bending angles need to be studied to work with the natural bending angles of bamboo and the actuated movement with Arduino. The structure is installed at the Art & Architecture building, at the second-floor entry, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to allow students, professors, and passersby to interact with the structure. The goal is combining artificial actuation techniques with mutated bamboo stems to generate a responsive structure to be experienced by all users. RE[FLEX] is an interactive structure. The team wants people to interact with this structure that can communicate through movement. The team wants this structure to be an occupied space and a new experience. The way it works is simple yet complex. The structure is a transitional space between exterior and interior. Movements trigger the sensors and servos to start working and structure to start bending and Interacting with people. Finally, mixing nature with artificial intelligence, technologies and tools is important, but what is crucial is to be flexible and adaptable.

[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]




RE [FLEX]

wireframe diagram RONY FEGHALY | YEGANEH RAHBARI | COURTNEY ST. JOHN

USER

INITIAL JOINT LIBRARY:

INITAL OVERAL DESIGN CONCEPT

STATIC FLEXIBLE

MAT.

STRUCTURE

HARVEST BAMBOO

ESTABLISH KERF CUT AND PLACEMENT

PUR THE

BANDSAWN CUT DESIGN

AU D

ANGLED

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

LIMITED

TECH.

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SLICED

2

3

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DENSIFYING STEM PATTERN

RCHASE STEEL ROD FOR E CENTER OF THE STATIC BAMBOO

CAST BAMBOO IN FOUNDATION TO GENERATE INITIAL DESIGN

FINAL CONSTRUCTED DESIGN

CONCRETE FOUNDATION WITH BALLOON FORMWORK

UGMENTED REALITY TO DEFINE RADIUS OF THE STEEL RODS

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INTERACTION WITH MOTION SENSORS TO TRIGGER MOVEMENT

PLACING ARDUINO MOTION SENSORS

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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

precedents

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FIG.01 Soba Bamboo Furniture // Stefan Diaz

FIG.02 Lamianted Ruled Surface Str

PRECEDENTS are always interesting to research, analyze and understand at the beginning of every project to get a better understanding on the behavior of the material.Different designers have different approaches and techniques to adapt materials to their projects. Stefan Diaz used bamboo for interior furniture using mainly a subtractive technique that carves part of the bamboo to reach the exterior skin that is the most flexible part of this species. This allows the bamboo to become flexible and therefore bend and shape according to the design. 08


03

ructure // A. Menges

FIG.03 Installation Gewerbemuseum Winterthur for the exhibition Wood Loop // Gramazio Kohler Architects

Diaz used wires and bamboo joints to stabilize his furniture. A. Menges, another designer, created curved wall surfaces through subtracting different locations of the wall which permitted to have a more fluid and flexible design. Gramazio Kohler Architects used kerf cutting techniques on wood pieces, and than curved them and attached them to a wall as part of a wood exhibition. Reaching flexibility can be achieved through different techniques depending on the desired design and the flexibility the material allows. [FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


experimenting flexibility 180. Taking the rigid, hollow bamboo and designing a cut, leaving only the skin left at the edge. While at 180 degrees, the bamboo appears sturdy and structural.

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

160. With the thin cut, the bamboo has taken on the material properties of flexibility which begins to show in the image to the right.

135. Showing the bamboo does not break with more bending, however the bend comes to a point at the thinnest/shortest point. This does allow for a joint option and complex geometries to take form.

90. The ability to bend the bamboo 90 degrees allows for the design to take on different forms, orthogonal or otherwise. The design possibilities expand with the flexible joint method.

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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

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FIG.01 Pneumatic muscle is completely limp with no air insert, leaving the bamboo at 90 degrees.

ACTUATED. Operating the bamboo’s movement is critical in the design and testing phase of the project. Experimenting with various methodologies, cuts, bents, joints, etc. The desire for various actuated joints within the structure allows for interactive and activation of the users and material. PNEUMATIC. Pneumatic muscles were designed and implemented in order to test actuated joint methods. Compressed air was inserted into the pneumatic muscle to inflate and compress the muscle to experiment with the ability to change the direction of the bamboo angles. FLEXIBLE. Cutting the bamboo in specific moments to optimize the material properties’ flexibility is instrumental for demonstrating a flexible architecture. While whole and intact, the bamboo takes on a very structural and rigid property. However, once the bamboo has been manipulated and cut in various ways, it becomes less static, more complex, and flexible.

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STRUCTURAL. Bamboo has strong structural properties that can be as close to steel in tension and as strong as concrete in compression depending on its usage. With no human intervention, bamboo has the possibility of growing 25+ tall, grow faster than wood, and is overall more sustainable option for architectural materials. TENSION. Tension is implemented in multiple ways. The artificial pneumatic muscle is moving bamboo by contracting and expanding depending on the air pressure in it. Tension can also be interpreted within the flexibility of the bamboo. Analyzing the breaking angle of the bamboo is crucial to understand the limits of this material. Many failed experiments were conducted before understanding the behavior of bamboo with all the design implications. Using the pneumatic muscle was interesting, however, very risky knowing that every bamboo piece has a different degree of flexibility depending on its length, dryness, and thickness.

FIG.04 With the muscle completely inflated, the bamboo straightens out allowed for movement

[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

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FIG.01 The custom jig designed to hold down the bamboo for the CNC cut FIG.02 Setting the 0,0,0 axis for the CNC router

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FIG.03 The final outcome, raw and shredded based on the direction of the tool FIG.04 Profiling the CNC produced the thinnest edge for flexibility

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FIG.05 Finishing using the down cut to experiment with the finishing options FIG.06 The final CNC file. Updating the settings and trying to have less shreds using different milling directions.

05 CNC MILLING was another tool used to subtract pieces of the bamboo to get as close as possible to the skin that is the most flexible element of this species. Many attempts were accomplished, however, the results were disappointing in terms of flexibility and shredding. Updating the settings of the CNC router helped with the shredding but didn’t change the flexibility of the bamboo. In addition to the problem of shredding, this technique was not the best in terms of time management knowing that the project is using a large number of bamboo pieces. After many trials, this method was dropped out of the equation.

[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


3D printed joints FIG.01 Series of axonometric drawings showing movable and fixed joints for multiple connections

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

FIG.02 Ball and socket joint. for two bamboo connections

FIG.03 Ball and socket joint operating on two different flexibility levels

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01

04 FIG.01 Socket joint with hooks to attach to the interior of the bamboo. However, the material properties did not allow for a strong attachment

02 FIG.02 Single ball and socket joint

FIG.03 Double ball and socket joint

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FIG.04 Multi-fixed joint, allowing for six bamboo pieces to fit together [FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


kerf cutting

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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

01 PROCESS. For the small kerf cuts, the group operated with the band saw because it provided minimal cut width with producing maximum flexibility of the bamboo. This cut allowed us to experiment with density and depth of cuts in order to have more control over the exact curvature of the bamboo pieces. Once the bamboo became longer, the chop saw and table saw were utilized and experimented with to get a similar outcome with a bit bigger blade. The chop saw was used first and successfully created a long length kerf cut bamboo without breaking. However, the consistency of the cut was missing. The table saw was able to provide a consistent cut across the board, however the bamboo became fragile and broke. However, when the team moved back to the full pieces of bamboo, the table saw shred the edges too much. Therefore, the team moved back to the band saw. The team tried to work with bamboo pieces cut in half(two cylinders). Those pieces were very flexible, but very fragile which is not very convenient for this project that is based on repetitive actuated movements. Therefore, half pieces were dropped out from the design and we decided to kerf cut whole bamboo pieces. Part of the research is experimenting techniques and methods and the team learned a lot from the failed experiments. Slicing the bamboo is a delicate process in which we could control the density of the cuts and consequently the flexibility of each piece. After trying negative subtraction, CNC milling and finally kerf cutting using different tools, the team adapted kerf cutting using the band saw as the main way for reaching flexibility. 20


FIG.01 maximum flexibility of the half pieces kerf cut bamboo

FIG.02 chop saw, utilized for making controled spacing of cuts

02 FIG.03 band saw, used for small length kerf cuts

03 FIG.04 table saw, used for consistent kerf cuts across a long member in a short amount of time

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kerf cuts catalog

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

FIG.01 NARROW

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FIG.02 BOOLEAN

FIG.03 STEPPED

FIG.04 BIG SLICE

FIG.05 CURVED KERF

FIG.06 SCALEY

FIG.07 STATIC KERF


FIG.08 THIN KERF

FIG.09 WIDE KERF

FIG.10 FIG.11 COMPRESS SLICED

FIG.12 FIG.13 ‘V’ SHAPED ROTATED SPACED

FIG.14 ROTATED KERF

[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


flexibility degrees

NARROW cut doesn’t provide enough flexibility.

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

BOOLEAN cut can reach a high angle before reaching a breaking angle, however, it was not convenient to our design anymore.

STEPPED cut was interesting design wise but its degree of flexibility was very low.

CURVED KERF cut was interesting as a design but the curves did not help the flexibility of the bamboo. It was weaker than the regular kerf cut design

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FIG.09KERF // WIDEcut KERF THIN was experimented with treated bamboo pieces. It was flexible, however, since it is thicker than regular bamboo, it broke easily.

WIDE KERF cut is a successful experiment that was used for bamboo pieces that needed to be curved with small angles.

FIG.12 // ‘V’ SHAPED

V SHAPED cut was interesting in terms of design and had some lighting potentials. However, the degree of flexibility was not enough for the design.

FIG.13 // ROTATED SPACED

ROTATED SPACED cut was the most flexible cut however not the best when it comes to time management and consistency of the cuts.

[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


fabrication process

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DESIGNING MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

FABRICATION PROCESS started with digitally designing the project so we can use this as a tool for assembling the pieces. The location we chose for this installation is a very active space that leads to the interior of the Art & Architecture building and therefore, the structure is exposed to many interaction with people. The location of every element in this installation was designed in a way to create a fluid envelope guiding people from and to the Art building keeping in mind ADA standards. The installation was designed to interact with people passing by through sensors that detect motion 2 3 4 and trigger servo motors that pull some1of the flexible bamboo pieces through wires what make them bend and form an arch.

Bamboo placements create a sense of a defined circulation space, a volumetric path is created.

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TOP PLAN VIEW showing the location of the installation as a transitional circulation path between the outside of the Art & architecture building and the interior. The installation is a fluid volumetric path that welcomes people and guide them in and out. Circulation is fluid and never obstructed. The placement of this project permits a great engagement with passengers.

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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

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ACTUATED BAMBOO Starts bending whenever the sensor detects motion. The sensors need to be programmed used arduino scripts to determine the time interval between which bamboo starts moving with the help of servo motors. As shown in this perspective view, the location of this installation is very strategic, allowing for interaction between bamboo and passengers coming inside the building and the ones leaving it.


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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

FROM INSIDE THE BUILDING, people can still visually interact with the installation because of its strategic location that is seen from almost every main circulation access inside the art & architecture building. Once leaving the building, students are going to be able to experience this moving and flexible structure. People are also going to learn how to actuate a bamboo structure using cutting techniques combined with technologies to make actuation possible.

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This entrance space is already active with students and professors coming in and out of the building at all times. It is a main circulation access. Installing the project at this location is going to make the site not only more active but interactive. The arch was used as an element that is welcoming to people, guiding them through a clear circulation and giving them an opportunity to experience circulation and access in a different way. Also, installing the RE[FLEX] project in this site introduced greenery to this concrete space, but this time, greenery communicates with the help of technology.

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mobile vs static FIG.01 Axonometric view of the structure showing placement of actuated and static pieces. Moving pieces are represented with peach colored bamboo projected at different phases of the movement.

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

01

FIG.02 Elevation view of the installation 1 2 3 where peach colored bamboo represents actuation at different phases of movement.

FIG.03 Elevation view of two bamboo elements showing an actuated bamboo piece on one side and a static piece on the opposite side. Once actuated, the installation starts forming arches which transforms the path into a closed geometrical space. 32

BAMBOO PIECES ARE NOT IDENTICAL. Every piece of bamboo is unique in terms of height, thickness, diameter, bending angles and flexibility which requires a high level of delicacy designing and fabricating them. To reach the desired angles, the team worked on different cuts densities to get less or more curvature.

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ACTUATION was applied to some elements of the installation and not all of them. As shown in the drawings, some elements are actuated while others are bent but static to keep a certain level of stability of the structure. Every actuated piece has a static bamboo piece on the opposite side to keep the movement steadier. The mobile pieces were actuated using sensors detecting motion and triggering servo motors to pull the mobile bamboo pieces. The initial position of the mobile pieces is almost straight forming a 180 angle before any movement and can reach a 90 degrees angle when actuated.


bending angles FIG.04 Exploded axonometric view showing the three different parts of the installation where each part is bent and cut differently.

04 CUTS DENSITY is key in this project to reach the desired flexibility. Some pieces are less or more bent than others which is controlled with the density and spacing of cuts. The closer the cuts and the more they overlap the more flexible the pieces can become and the higher the bending angle is and vice versa. As shown in the exploded axonometric view as well as the elevation, the installation is almost divided in three main sections. The first part of the design is formed with straight bamboo pieces that are more structural, holding the installation to the ground. The second middle part starts to curve which means that the pieces are kerf cut at low density. The last upper part is the most bent part with angles reaching 90 degrees. The upper parts are cut with the highest density which permitted to reach a high level of flexibility. However, controlling bamboo flexibility is key to protect the installation from breaking, which is why we inserted steel rodes in the static elements to fix them at a certain angle. FIG.05 Elevation view showing static lower parts for structural purposes. The middle part starts to bend while the upper part is the most bent with angles reaching 90 degrees in some parts.

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process FIG.01 Chopping bamboo pieces and cutting them to smaller pieces around 7 to 8 foot pieces each.

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

01 01

FIG.02 Transporting chopped bamboo pieces .

FIG.03 Moving bamboo pieces to the Art & Architecture building to start the fabrication process. 34

02

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CHOPPING bamboo pieces is the first step in the long process of fabricating and putting the installation together. After locating long bamboo pieces, we proceeded by chopping them and cutting them into smaller pieces for transportation limitation. Transportation is not the only limitation, since bigger pieces are harder to handle, harder to cut using the band saw, are heavier and harder to maneuver which put them at a higher risk of breaking. Also when kerf cut, bamboo becomes flexible, and gets harder to stabilize which is another reason to have smaller pieces. In addition to this, taller pieces require bigger foundations.


FIG.04 Kerf cutting bamboo using a band saw.

04 04 KERF CUTTING after chopping and transporting bamboo, the team assigned every bamboo piece a tag that matches the digital design. Since every element of this installation has different length and different bending angle, it should be treated and cut differently. Following the digital design, we kerf cut every bamboo piece depending on the desired angles. Cuts densities and spaces are the main factor that defines how flexible each element is. After many previous failed experiments using different cutting tools, we decided to use the band saw because it was the most convenient tool for accuracy of the cuts. However, some pieces were broken for getting too flexible and therefore, too fragile. This process is delicate, reaching a balance between flexibility and fragility.

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RODS INSERTING in the static bamboo elements was crucial to prevent bamboo from breaking. 1/4 Inch steel rods were bent and inserted in static bamboo pieces after the nodes were broken to help lift the weight of the bamboo and give the structure more stability. It is a challenge to insert the rods if the bending angles are strong, some pieces were broken and therefore, we used heat guns to expand the bamboo and make it easier to insert the rods.

FIG.05 Bending the steel rods to reach the desired angles. FIG.06 Inserting steel rodes inside the hollowed bamboo static pieces. FIG.07 Using heat guns to heat bamboo pieces, making them expand which helps inserting the rods.

[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


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FIG.01 Pouring concrete into the balloon using a bamboo piece as a funnel.

MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

FIG.02 Once the balloon is expanded, the funnel is removed and the kerf cut bamboo is gently inserted.

FIG.03 When concrete dries, the balloon is detached.

FIG.04 Bamboo elements inserted in foundations are put on the side.

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FOUNDATIONS are one of the main elements of this project. Even though bamboo is hollow, tall pieces we’re using for this project have considerable weight. In addition to its original weight, when kerf cut, bending bamboo have more gravitational forces pushing it down and therefore, the team wanted a strong and heavy foundation to counterbalance the movement of the bamboo. Concrete was used because of its weight and possibility of molding. We wanted the foundation to also be designed. We used large balloons to mold our foundations. We first mixed concrete and than poured it in the balloon using a bamboo piece as a funnel. Once the balloon is expanded, we removed the funnel and inserted the kerf cut bamboo piece very gently to prevent the balloon from breaking and concrete from spilling. The foundation was next put on the side to get dry.


  





 

The Process









   

 

Process of cutting the   bamboo  and introducing   the steel rods 

  





 

    

  

 



 



 

 







 

 







 



 

 



   

  







Attaching the bamboo to the foundation 







  

 



  

 











   





 

 

  

   

  

 





 



 



 





Attaching the wire to the   static bamboo to move the mobile pieces



  





   





 

  



     

  

    

  



 

  

 



 



  





 

   









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MATERIAL MISBEHAVIOR

FINAL PRODUCT

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[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]


[FEGHALY] - [RAHBARI] - [ST JOHN] / RE [FLEX]

Profile for Courtney St John

Bamboo Installation Booklet  

Reflex is a bamboo structure composed of self-supporting columns that are manipulated and actuated to take on different properties and geome...

Bamboo Installation Booklet  

Reflex is a bamboo structure composed of self-supporting columns that are manipulated and actuated to take on different properties and geome...

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