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Thrust Network Analysis: A New Methodology for Three-Dimensional Equilibrium

P. Block, J. Ochsendorf

J.IASS paper   SAHC'08 paper   IJAH paper (coming soon)

Thrust Network Analysis is a new methodology for generating compression-only vaulted surfaces and networks. The method finds possible funicular solutions under gravitational loading within a defined envelope. Using projective geometry, duality theory and linear optimization, it provides a graphical and intuitive method, adopting the same advantages of techniques such as graphic statics, but offering a viable extension to fully three-dimensional problems. The proposed method is applicable for the analysis of vaulted historical structures, specifically in unreinforced masonry, as well as the design of new vaulted structures. This paper introduces the method and shows examples of applications in both fields.