A Performance-Driven Approach for the Design of Cellular Geometries with Low Thermal Conductivity for Application in 3D-Printed Façade Components

Valeria Piccioni, Michela Turrin, Martin Tenpierik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Additive manufacturing allows the fabrication of complex geometries with enhanced performances, making it interesting for application in façade components. Assessing the performance of non-standard geometries and 3D printed parts requires a combination of digital and analytical methods to retrieve validated models which can guide the design process. In this study a 3D printed mono-material façade component was designed, where the complex geometrical configuration enhance its thermal insulation properties. For this, a digital workflow was developed, encompassing performance-driven design, performance assessment and geometry generation for fabrication.
Analytical heat transfer models, heat flux measurements, and heat transfer simulations with COMSOL Multiphysics were used to assess the thermal properties of different geometrical alternatives. By observing and comparing the results, a validated model was defined to retrieve design guidelines and thermal performance indicators. The results identify porosity as the driving factor for thermal insulation and clarify the nature of the heat transfer in 3D printed cellular structures. Open surface-based geometries were preferred for the good combination of thermal properties and manufacturability. The findings are embedded in a digital workflow in Rhino-Grasshopper, enabling the design of insulating cellular structures to be used in 3D printed façade components.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD 2020)
EditorsAngelos Chronis, Gabriel Wurzer, Wolfgang E. Lorenz, Christiane M. Herr, Ulrich Pont, Dana Cupkova, Gabriel Wainer
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherSociety for Computer Simulation International (SCS)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-56555-371-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSimAUD 2020 (Online): 11th Annual Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design -
Duration: 25 May 202027 May 2020


ConferenceSimAUD 2020 (Online): 11th Annual Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design


  • Thermal insulation
  • FEA simulations
  • Parametric Design
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Façade design
  • Performance-driven design

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