# Form-finding of grid-shells using the ground structure and potential energy methods: a comparative study and assessment

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## Abstract

The structural performance of a grid-shell depends directly on the geometry of the design. Form-finding methods, which are typically based on the search for bending-free configurations, aid in achieving structurally efficient geometries. This manuscript proposes two form-finding methods for grid-shells: one method is the potential energy method, which finds the form in equilibrium by minimizing the total potential energy in the system; the second method is based on an augmented version of the ground structure method, in which the load application points become variables of the topology optimization problem. The proposed methods, together with the well-known force density method, are evaluated and compared using numerical examples. The advantages and drawbacks of the methods are reviewed, compared and highlighted.

## Keywords

Form-finding Grid-shells Potential energy method Ground structure method## Notes

### Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the financial support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) under projects #1559594 (formerly #1335160), which is a GOALI (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry) project with SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP), and project #1321661. Ms Haley Simms provided valuable comments that contributed to improve the manuscript. We are also grateful for the endowment provided by the Raymond Allen Jones Chair at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The information provided in this paper is the sole opinion of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies.

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