NURBS-BASED ELEMENTS AS A BASIS FOR INTEGRATING ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS
Building information modeling offers a huge potential for increasing the productivity and quality of construction planning processes. Despite its promising concept, this approach has not found widespread use. One of the reasons is the insufficient coupling of the structural models with the general building model. Instead, structural engineers usually set up a structural model that is independent from the building model and consists of mechanical models of reduced dimension. An automatic model generation, which would be valuable in case of model revisions is therefore not possible. This can be overcome by a volumetric formulation of the problem. A recent approach employed the p-version of the finite element method to this problem. This method, in conjunction with a volumetric formulation is suited to simulate the structural behaviour of both „thick“ solid bodies and thin-walled structures. However, there remains a notable discretization error in the numerical models. This paper therefore proposes a new approach for overcoming this situation. It sugggests the combination of the Isogeometric analysis together with the volumetric models in order to integrate the structural design into the digital, building model-centered planning process and reduce the discretization error. The concept of the isogeometric analysis consists, roughly, in the application of NURBS functions to represent the geometry and the shape functions of the elements. These functions possess some beneficial properties regarding numerical simulation. Their use, however, leads to some intricacies related to the setup of the stiffness matrix. This paper describes some of these properties.