The connections used in any structural system play a significant role in defining the form, performance, cost, and aesthetic of an overall design including that of a building.

Topologically Interlocking Joinery (TIJ) is a concept that has been used throughout history around the world to create structures.  Examples of TIJ range from complex interlocking topologies such as those used in traditional Japanese wood joinery to simpler elements that are locally held together by kinematic constraints created through the shape and arrangement of the elements.

TIJ 1

The construction techniques using TIJs exhibit empirical evidence of efficiency and cultural significance, but their application is limited today.  One of the main obstacles in re-introducing the technique is the lack of scientific understanding of the structural behaviour of the joinery systems. Our research aims to develop strategies to uncover such behaviour via state-of-the-art numerical simulations and fabrication methods.

Advantages:

  • Easy assembly and disassembly
  • Integrated performance and appearance
Disadvantages to overcome:

  • Require high craft skills

        -> use of digital fabrication

  • Structural performance is not well understood

        -> use of computational analysis

TIJ 2

[1] advance the understanding of topologically interlocking joinery (TIJ),
[2] create new computational design methods to exploit TIJ, and
[3] design and realize new TIJ concepts via modern digital fabrication methods.

TIJ 3 TIJ 4 TIJ 5
  • Understand and Extend: Parametric study of individual joints
    – parametric study for stiffness optimization
    – geometric principles of interlocking
  • Communicate : Multi-scale modelling and Use of DOE
    – 2, 3, and 4 element joints with User Defined elements
    – Design of Experiment and Probabilistic Graphical Model
  • Realize: Smart fabrication
    – functionally graded multi-material printing
    – structures for fitting and friction control

TIJ 6

Photos

Photo credit: Jansen Teo Photography

IT 1 IT 2 IT 3
 IT 4