The Underestimated Role of Simulation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction

By Deepak DATYE
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Role of Simulation in #AEC

Have you heard of hyper-loops, undersea hotels, and made-to-order 3D-printed buildings? These were just concepts a few years ago, but are reality now.

architecture-simulation-1-768x493

These structures need to be designed for either transporting people through natural surroundings, protecting them from natural surroundings, or allowing them to interact with natural surroundings. The commonalities that underlay these structures consist of intricate linkages between product, nature, and life.

In fact, the original charter of the Institution of Civil Engineers describes the civil engineering profession as “the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man”, and herein underlies the role of product, nature and life.

So we need to think about product, nature, and life together not only to allow for creating innovative designs, but also to provide optimal functionality, ensure safety, and safeguard sustainability, for ecological well-being. Product, nature, and life, hence, need to play a conjoined role during planning for large engineering projects such as city developments, large transportation projects, as well as dam and irrigation works.

How can we include nature and life – and by life we mean human life – in the design process of an architectural structure?

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& human life in the #architectural #design process

This will need to be done through realistic simulations that take into account precise geometry and material properties, realistic representations of physical and natural processes, and rational predictions of experiences by people.

Representing products as they are has become fairly widespread and well understood. Engineers are able to create a detailed geometrical representation of the product, be it a doubly curved concrete superstructure, a curved Plexiglas window on an undersea hotel structure, sound absorbing acoustic panels inside auditoriums, or roof tiles and linings in railroad tunnels.

The key however to understand how an entire structure will behave in real life is to accurately represent the material properties it’s composed of, including the response behavior of the material to changes in stress and temperature over time, and material degradation due to interactions with humans and natural surroundings.

Contours of displacement in a segmented box girder bridge

Contours of displacement in a segmented box girder bridge

Loads, both external as well as internally generated, need to be taken into account together with externally applied disturbances, such as those during earthquakes.

The geometry, material characteristics, and the driving forces of loads and prescribed disturbances, need to be combined and solved in order to obtain a structural response that the experiencer then perceives. The more information on the complete system that one is able to take into account, the better will the structural response prediction be.

The complete system will then include the structure, foundations, rock or soil surrounding the foundations, wind, thermal inputs such as heat loading, and of course gravity.

Additionally, scenarios such as explosion loading, etc. will also need to be considered for assessing structural behavior during or subsequent to any of such contingencies.

Contact interactions, impact loading, construction and demolition sequences, retrofitting scenarios and options, and responses to seismic excitation can be evaluated.

This is what simulation brings to the table and the value companies reap from it—the ability to virtually understand everything about the behavior and impact of a building, a bridge, or a dam, before having to physically build them.

Looking at the bigger picture, the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform from Dassault Systèmes is uniquely positioned to allow users to leverage these capabilities in a single framework. It combines and integrates leading technologies from SIMULIA for realistic simulation, CATIA for accurate 3D representation of structures, GEOVIA for precise description of geo-stratification, and BIOVIA for the understanding of material behaviors starting at the atomistic level.

It will enable one to not only model buildings, but also their behaviors, including the way they interact with nature, the way nature interacts with them, and their impact on people, from the micro to the macro scale.

Transport of pollutants in a city due to wind. Here we see streamlines of the pollutants and how they get affected by the presence of the buildings.

Transport of pollutants in a city due to wind. Here we see streamlines of the pollutants and how they get affected by the presence of the buildings.

Speaking of macro scale, we see the emergence of the need for cities to model their entire infrastructure for planning purposes, including systems of buildings and equipment along with all the physical and web-enabled inter-connections linking them.

A unique effort is being undertaken at Dassault Systèmes to address these challenges through 3DEXPERIENCE City. As an example, a digital representation of the nation-city of Singapore is now being constructed and once completed can be used for planning purposes and to study “what-if” scenarios. It can be helpful for investigating the implications of certain decisions made by city government agencies, and to plan and channel urban growth.

These are exciting times for comprehensive simulation technologies to connect product, nature, and life in the AEC industry.

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tech to connect product, nature & life in #AEC @3DSAEC

Related Resources

Collaborative, Industrialized Construction – Industry Solution Experiences from Dassault Systèmes

3DEXPERIENCE City

SIMULIA for realistic simulation


Originally published on 3ds.com/simulate

XtreeE unveils Europe’s first 3D-printed Pavilion at 3DS Paris Campus: Recap of the inauguration

By Fred
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The inauguration of the 3D-printed Pavilion took place at the 3DS Paris Campus, on September 20, 2016, key persons were involved in this significant collaborative project using digital technology & additive construction methods that transform the design and building processes in the construction industry.

A first in Europe inspired by shapes found in nature that demonstrates the future of sustainable architecture. It showcases 4 main innovations in design (bio-mimicry), simulation (topology optimization), materials and constructions (robot manufacturing) that could transform the future of architecture and building construction. The digital continuity is key and is provided through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

If you miss the event, watch the video replay of the 3D-printed Pavilion grand opening by officials.

The inauguration created a strong activity on social networks, follow the story hereafter…

A disruptive innovative project led by the French startup XtreeE with the support of ABB, LafargeHolcim and the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab of Dassault Systèmes. Discover the related article: Applauding XtreeE in Leading 3D Printing Revolution.

The ambition of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab is really to help bring disruptive innovation, with an open innovation approach, coaching and mentoring start-ups. To know more about our role of incubator, read the 2015 3DEXPERIENCE Lab launch recap. You can also visit our dedicated website.

How Human Task Simulation Can Identify AEC Safety Risks

By Prashanth
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Human Task Simulation

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Can Identify #AEC Safety Risks

Injury from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)—caused by lifting heavy items, performing tasks repetitively, working in awkward body postures, etc.—plagues many industries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013, 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases were the result of MSDs.

But by factoring ergonomic solutions in at the design stage of a new building, many workplaces and facilities can dramatically minimize the potential for design-induced risks to health, personal or process safety or environmental performance.

Companies that make worker safety and wellness a core part of their practices gain more than safer, healthier workers. Research indicates that these companies also gain dramatic improvements to their bottom lines.

The reasons are plentiful. Companies that institute safety as part of their core make-up pay less in workplace compensation costs. They also find that they are better able to motivate workers when they create an environment that proves they care about workers, leading to increased productivity. This, in turn, leads to a strong reputation for the company among its workers and the industry at large, improving the potential for gaining top talent.

This focus on human safety should begin in the design of a new facility, and should be a priority at every stage in the building’s life cycle.

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continues through the building life cycle”

First, architects must review a building’s design to evaluate potential safety issues for future occupants. Then, contractors must account for jobsite safety throughout the construction processes. Finally, commissioning agents or facility managers should review the ease of repair and accessibility of maintenance tasks to see how the design might impact workers’ safety.

Companies that are truly committed to process improvements understand that ergonomically designed work flows can have a dramatic effect on workers’ health.

Creating an integrated ergonomics plan

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#design plan #AEC #safety

There are five points to consider in creating an ergonomic-based design plan:

  • The characteristics, capabilities, expectations, limitations, experiences and needs of the people who will operate, maintain, support and use the facilities.
  • The nature of the work involved in operating, maintaining and supporting the facility.
  • The work organization in terms of, for example, team structures, responsibilities, working hours and shift schedules.
  • The equipment and technology used, including the way equipment is laid out and the elements that people need to interact.
  • The work environment in which people are expected to work, including the operating conditions, lighting, reachability, walkability and exposure to other health hazards.

Integration of these five elements leads to a more efficient workflow. But creating a solution that accounts for each of these challenges can be tricky. More firms are turning to human task simulation as an early part of their early design work.

Benefits to simulating human tasks

When AEC companies simulate human tasks, they can design better work systems, workplaces and products that improve safety across the building’s entire life cycle.

Human task simulation can ultimately:

  • Reduce risks to health, personal and process safety and the environment.
  • Reduce the likelihood of human error in production processes.
  • Improve human efficiency and productivity, thereby enhancing operational performance.
  • Improve user acceptance of new facilities.

But the benefits of human task simulation can also lead to benefits for AEC partners. These benefits include:

  • Costs reduction through more efficient design that prevents the need for expensive changes and/or rework late in the design phase.
  • Reduced need for rework or changes during or after construction.
  • Reductions in life cycle costs for operating and maintaining facilities.
  • Improvements in health, safety and environment (HSE) performance, and reduced operational HSE risk.
  • Enhanced user commitment, often resulting in faster approval cycles.

How human task simulation works

Solutions such as the DELMIA Work Safety Engineer on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform allows users to create, simulate and validate operational tasks in a virtual environment. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform makes available a wide range of manipulation and ergonomics analysis tools that let designers explore early on how their choices can impact the end-users’ ergonomic performance.

Human task simulation allows users to define and simulate the way a worker performs tasks in the workplace and on the worksite. The DELMIA Work Safety Engineer, for example, has a lifelike figure perform predefined actions such as picking up and placing objects, walking, using a tool, or operating a device. Through these tools, designers can better prevent workplace injuries with early identification of potential ergonomics-related problems.

Through simulation, designers can better identify the best of several potential safety solutions and make an early impact on long-term worker safety.

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Related Resources

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Learn more about the Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience for AEC



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