Design and code-check of paper structures

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You've been calling for new materials to be available for design, analysis, and code-check in IDEA StatiCa. It was not easy to decide which material should be the one implemented in our software next to the steel and concrete. The requirements were many – wood, composite, plastics, glass, and others. But only one of them ruled them all – PAPER!

And at the very beginning, we have to admit this was the toughest challenge, we've ever faced in our history. But we love challenges! So, after years of development and thorough testing and verifications, the most desired feature is finally here! 

With the new IDEA StatiCa F00I version, we can proudly state, IDEA StatiCa can design, analyze and code-check various types of paper structures. 

Why paper?

The history of the paper reaches to ancient Egypt. Since then, trillions of tons of paper have been produced, used, and written. The advantages of this material are well-known:  

  • eco-friendly
  • fully recyclable
  • affordable 
  • world-wide accessible 
  • colorable
  • edible (in some cases)

Despite its long history, paper is undoubtedly the most promising construction material of the future. You've probably noticed the first cardboard cathedral being designed by an architectural legend, Shigaru Ban, in Christchurch, New Zealand

And it's not the only one. We can follow multiple uses of paper for various engineering work, such as bridges,

shelters or kid amusement constructions all over the world. And we believe, all kids should be playing in safe. 

But your imagination is not limited here. Whatever you think of can be created from paper, can be designed and analyzed by IDEA StatiCa. 

Moreover, every engineer or architect started his/her career by creating paper or cardboard models for school projects, right? And the only way how to test the stability and safety of these school projects was the practical test (most commonly used smashed tests, impact tests, fire-resistance tests, and test for water and other drink resistance). 

With the new IDEA StatiCa Paper application, you can now analyze even miniature construction elements in minutes as well. 

Introducing IDEA StatiCa Paper

Thanks to the new IDEA StatiCa Paper application, we add another type of building material into the portfolio of IDEA StatiCa products. Next to steel connections and members, incl. steel-to-concrete and steel-to-timber connections, and our concrete applications, you can now design and code-check a brand new type of material – paper structures. 

The main intention is to minimize limitations of use, so with the cooperation with our research partners, we came with a fresh and innovative method to assess the behavior of the paper model – CPFEM (Cellulose Paper Finite Element Method). 

The stress-strain diagram of CPFEM: 

Stress-strain diagram of CPFEM

To the surprise of all our researchers, the whole mathematical method beyond the solver was invented already thousands of years ago and stands on a very simple and well-known formula: 

Formula beyond CPFEM method

Any type of structure

THE CPFEM method enables the user to use ANY type of paper for his construction purposes: 

  • office-paper piles
  • cardboard
  • toilet paper tubes
  • and many others.

Any connection type

Thanks to the above-mentioned CPFEM technology core of IDEA StatiCa Paper, its users are neither limited in the paper-to-paper connection design. It does not matter if you connect your papers with glue, staple it, clip it or stack it (we call it internally the "origami method"), we have always get your back.

Analysis and code-check

As you might predict, the main challenge when it comes to paper is the analysis part. Our research engineers spent years in laboratories to cover at least the main analysis types and tests. Based on the paper attributes, we were facing three main challenges:

    • water resistance (melting)
    • fire resistance
    • wind load (buckling, blow-away)

Luckily, the latest inventions in the paper production industry helped us and the latest tests of fire retardant and water-resistant paper are promising for the future of paper for the construction industry. 

We have to admit, we had much more difficulties passing the wind blow test on the office paper pile. As you can see in one of the verification videos, the research work does not always go as expected. 

Verifications and proof

Reliability is the core of any of the IDEA StatiCa applications and Paper is not an exception. The research and verification phase has been carried by the well-known Ramses III University of Papyrus in Cairo, Egypt. 

The university team spent over 5 years running numerous laboratory tests. Results were aligned with the code requirements. CPFEM overcomes the limit of calculation possibilities in paper structure design while keeping engineers on the safe side.

On the images below, you can follow one of the tests of a paper bridge under loading. All paper connections were then analyzed by CPFEM. 

Paper bridge test
Paper Bridge Joint CPFEM

Give Paper a chance

We at IDEA StatiCa believe the future of paper is great wide open. That is why we invested our money, time and research capacities to find out a way how to use efficiently this well-known, eco-friendly but still underestimated construction material and provide structural engineers as well as other construction professionals a new material to work with and differentiate on the market. 

The new IDEA StatiCa Paper application is part of the newly released version F00I, which is exclusively available only on April 1, 2021, on this link.

And if we did not convince you, we hope we at least entertained you for a while and made you laugh.      

 Happy April Fool's Day!


Copyright images: shigerubanarchitects.com, myonebeautifulthing.com, SimScale, ScienceDirect.com, Brandon Tran, Eugene Choo

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