Laminated Glass Connection Details: Towards Homogeneous Material Joints in Glass
The demand for transparent but robust designs in architecture is still enormous. One of the most complex points of the application of glass is the use of efficient and appropriate connection details. The article examines a modular glass system about its architectural possibilities with a special focus on the connection methodology. We constructed a 2 x 2 x 1m prototype of specially laminated glass sheets with integrated connection details in the framework of a Master of Science programme on digital fabrication with support from Seele and Bischoff Glastechnik, which was also featured in two public exhibitions at TU Munich and the House of Architecture in Munich. The design potential is investigated using parametric geometrical modelling as well as FEM sensitivity analysis. At the interface between the architect and the engineer, the consequences of the FEM analysis are discussed reflecting the influence of the chosen connection to the peak stresses within the structure and expected deflections. A typical part of the examined structure is prepared as an FEA-model. The abstraction of the connection details within the model allows a more in-depth analysis of the load transmissions between the glass panes using non-linear contact effects as well as the rheological behaviour of the interlayer material. The examined structure was designed for application in small-scale architectural design. Beside the design, and analysis of the structure fabrication and installation aspects and their consequences to the design is explained in detail. Unique aspects of this article are new possibility to build transparent and efficient façade systems that can be flexibly adapted to possible areas of application due to the parametrically supported design processes. In addition to the design process, the direct interaction between the architect and the engineer was also able to consider the aspects of the data exchange regarding detail development. The article concludes with a description of further development for full-scale architectural applications and the necessary research.