Structural analysis software assists work on Dyson Village


SCIA Engineer’s structural analysis software produces a comprehensive design package for the Dyson Village in Malmesbury

Client: Design Engineering Workshop

Construction End Date: Nov-2018

Software: SCIA Engineer

Country: UK

In this case study, SCIA Engineer reveals how its structural analysis software produced a complete design package for the Dyson Village.

The Dyson Village is a student accommodation complex providing individual studio apartments for students at the Dyson Institute of Engineering & Technology. Each studio apartment (known as a ‘pod’) has internal dimensions of 7.3 m x 3.5 m x 2.5 m (height) and is formed solely by a cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction.

The studio apartments are stacked up to three pods high and always cantilevered from the pod below by at least 3m.

Finite element modelling of CLT structures is inherently challenging due to the material properties of the cross-laminated timber, specifically due to the layering of timber in two directions resulting in varying stiffness in three directions.

The project was further complicated by the stacked and cantilevered arrangement of the pods, modular nature of the construction, tight deadlines and a strict external checking process.

The Dyson Village used various functions within SCIA Engineer’s structural analysis software to produce a comprehensive design package.

Structural analysis software

The CLT panels were modelled using orthotropic plates to accurately capture the varying stiffness of the timber in three directions. Engineers carried out full-scale load-deflection testing and its results differed from the analysis only by 0.83 mm.

108 load combinations, generated from 20 load cases, were analysed and the envelope function was used to determine the worst-case combinations for each load duration.

The connections were modelled as rigid links which gave axial forces to design the inter-pod connections comprised of only 4 bolts. Revit links exported the model to Revit to produce the detailed design drawings. The graphical output of structural analysis software results was used and included in the calculation report.


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