Two-scale analysis of spaceframes with complex additive manufactured nodes

O. Oztoprak, A. Paolini, P. D'Acunto, E. Rank, S. Kollmannsberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The advancements in additive manufacturing (AM) technology have allowed for the production of geometrically complex parts with customizable designs. This versatility benefits large-scale space-frame structures, as the individual design of each structural node can be tailored to meet specific mechanical and other functional requirements. To this end, however, the design and analysis of such space-frames with distinct structural nodes needs to be highly automated. A critical aspect in this context is automated integration of the local 3D features into the 1D large-scale models. In the present work, a two-scale modeling approach is developed to improve the design and linear-elastic analysis of space frames with complex additively manufactured nodes. The mechanical characteristics of the 3D nodes are numerically reduced through an automated dimensional reduction process based on the Finite Cell Method (FCM) and substructuring. The reduced stiffness quantities are assembled in the large-scale 1D model which, in turn, enables efficient structural analysis. The response of the 1D model is passed on to the local model, enabling fully resolved 3D linear-elastic analysis. The proposed approach is numerically verified on a simplified beam example. Furthermore, the workflow is demonstrated on a tree canopy structure with additively manufactured nodes with bolted connections. The form of the large-scale structure is found based on the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modeling framework, and the different designs of the local structural nodes are based on generative exploration of the design space. It is demonstrated that the proposed methodology effectively automates the design and analysis of space-frame structures with complex, distinct structural nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116283
JournalEngineering Structures
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2023


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Finite cell method
  • Finite element method
  • Frame structures
  • Multiscale problems


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