Static Eiegenvalue Analysis as an Aid in Furniture Design
Paper i proceeding, 2004
In the design process, knowledge of structural mechanics is often reduced to its being used to determine whether the object that has been designed is sufficiently strong. Strength testing indicates this directly on a yes or no basis, whereas computations are able to compare the level of stress with the strength of the material. Understanding the interplay between load, form, and material which structural mechanics is able to provide can be of considerable and far-reaching importance, both at an early conceptual design stage and while developing parts and details. The aim of this paper is to show how structural mechanics (in particular, static eigenvalue analysis) can be used to create work methods that provide a common language between the designer and the engineer during the design process. A case study is presented in which the Finite Element Method (FEM) was used to perform static eigenvalue analyses aimed at facilitating a collaborative furniture design process in the creation of a shell-shaped chair. Analysis of this sort was chosen because it can be used in a sketch-like manner. The designer found it easy to incorporate the results of the analysis into his own sketching work. It also enabled him to see how different design changes affected the overall structural behaviour of the chair without him having to create a full-scale prototype for physical testing.