Bistable screens

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Project Details

Designing buildings for a changing climate involves rethinking one of the elements responsible for much of its environmental performance: the building envelope. Recently, one strategy that has gained much relevance is designing kinetic building envelopes that change their shape configuration for optimized functionality and performance. New developments in material science have led scholars to propose shape-morphing devices with bistable structures that exhibit more than one equilibrium state. Nevertheless, these bistable devices have yet to be studied for building envelope applications; bistable structures, however, present great potential for kinetic envelopes, exhibiting large and rapid deflections and low energy required to transition between states. As a result, much recent scholarly work on kinetic envelope presents solutions with limited kinetic capabilities or increased actuation time scales. This research remedies this gap by developing a kinetic building shade with bistable flaps actuated by smart materials, proposing strategies for suitable actuation mechanisms and efficient bistable forms.

The research seeks to find adequate configurations for kinetic bistable structures that enhance their efficiency as building elements, specifically daylight performance. It uses mixed methods, including experimental studies and building performance simulation, to enhance the efficiency of shape-changing structures made with a bistable skin and smart actuator. The study illustrates how bistability can be used for responsive shades due to their significant kinetic capabilities and proposes strategies for actuation with smart materials. Two different smart materials are tested as actuators of the system, magneto-active elastomers (MAEs) and shape-memory alloys (SMAs), to test their feasibility to actuate bistable laminates for a kinetic shade application.

  • Publications:

    • Vazquez, Elena, Clive Randall, and Jose Pinto Duarte. "Shape-changing architectural skins Shape-changing architectural skins: a review on materials, design and fabrication strategies and performance analysis" Journal of Facade Design and Engineering 7, no. 2 (2019): 91-102.

    • Vazquez, E., Evrim, B., and Duarte, J. (2021). Towards a digital workflow for designing bistable kinetic facades. Proceedings of the eCAADe Conference 2021

  • People: Elena Vazquez, Jose Duarte, Zoubeida Ounaies

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