Coupled form-finding and grid optimization approach for single layer grid shells

James Norman Richardson, Sigrid M. Adriaenssens, Rajan Filomeno Coelho, Philippe Bouillard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


This paper demonstrates a novel two-phase approach to the preliminary structural design of grid shell structures, with the objective of material minimization and improved structural performance. The two-phase approach consists of: (i) a form-finding technique that uses dynamic relaxation with kinetic damping to determine the global grid shell form, (ii) a genetic algorithm optimization procedure acting on the grid topology and nodal positions (together called the 'grid configuration' in this paper). The methodology is demonstrated on a case study minimizing the mass of three 24 × 24. m grid shells with different boundary conditions. Analysis of the three case studies clearly indicates the benefits of the coupled form-finding and grid configuration optimization approach: material mass reduction of up to 50% is achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-239
Number of pages10
JournalEngineering Structures
StatePublished - Jul 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • Dynamic relaxation
  • Form-finding
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Grid
  • Optimization


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