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Stressed Skins

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September 2017 - Stressed Skins is a research project that explores the architectural potentials of robotic incremental sheet forming (ISF). Architects use thin metal sheets as cladding to provide integrated enclosure, structure and form. Because loads vary over such a building system, performance requirements also vary, and customized load-adapted panel designs can mean significant efficiencies, such as lower material usage.

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This project—led by Paul Nicholas at the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, Copenhagen—develops design, calculation and simulation methods, alongside fabrication parameters and workflows, that support customized design and fabrication using ISF. This includes the prediction of changes in material properties—such as thinning and work hardening—that result from forming each flat sheet into out-of-plane geometries, as well as the structural behavior of the overall assembly. Each panel of 0.5mm mild steel is formed by a robot linked directly to a 3D computer model.

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The pattern on each panel relates directly to the structural forces within it, with its local depth modulated in response to the local need for rigidity.

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