Simulation on Point Clouds
Ayatekla Basilica, Turkey

Why do we need to simulate the Ayatekla Basilica?

Due to erosion effects, the columns at the Cistern of the Ayatekla Basilica in Turkey have suffered a severe degradation in their lifetime. These effects lead to the collapse of one of the columns in the 1960’s. Of course, the question is whether there is any danger of further structural failure?
To find this out, Turkish authorities and scientists have been conducting field studies to compute the internal stresses present in the structure under gravity loads. The method of choice for this goal was the finite element method.

What is the problem?

For such an object, there is no geometrical model available. Thus, the cistern and its columns can only be recorded by laser scanners. The challenging element in this process is that the data coming from the laser scanners is not directly suited for finite element modeling. These so-called point clouds need to be turned into CAD models prior to finite element analysis, which is a very time consuming process, requiring expertise in various tools, as well as engineering time. This results in a high manual effort and, therefore, in excessive costs in the analysis of structures defined by point clouds.

DirectFEM provides a unique solution

DirectFEM’s solution offers a faster and easier way: our software can compute directly on the point clouds, sparing time and money. Compared to the 20 days spent on preparing and simulating conventionally, our solution delivers simulation results within a single day!

“What if” scenarios made easy

As no preparation of the geometry is required, it becomes very easy to investigate “what if” scenarios: what if a column collapses, an additional support element is built, etc…

More application areas are possible

Laser scanning is not the only 3D scanning technology that results in point clouds: to measure shapes, photogrammetric reconstruction techniques can be applied as well. Regardless of the source of the clouds, DirectFEM’s technology allows for the simulation of such objects, enabling simulations in a very wide context :

  • Mining site safety assessment
  • Cultural heritage inspection
  • Studying the mechanical effects of surface imperfections
Aerospace bracket simulation. Pilot project with EOS

The point cloud of the Ayatekla basilica and the figures displaying the principal stress trajectories are reprinted from
Kudela, L., Kollmannsberger, S., Almac, U., & Rank, E. (2020). Direct structural analysis of domains defined by point clouds. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 358, 112581. Copyright (2020), with permission from Elsevier.

Das Projekt DirectFEM wird im Rahmen des EXIST-Programms durch das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie und den Europäischen Sozialfonds gefördert.