A re-study of the Atocha memorial in Madrid using dry-stacked interlocking cast glass components

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Abstract

Structures made from cast glass components are transparent and make full use of the high compressive strength of glass. As they have more freedom in shapes and can therefore be designed with a large cross-section, it is more suitable as a
structural element than fl oat glass. However, most cast glass structures that have been completed suffered from compromised transparency, or could not be recycled, and required meticulous construction. This is caused by the building system, that requires adhesive bonding of the elements, or a metal substructure.
These issues can be resolved by the use of interlocking geometries, where the glass components are designed to directly provide structural stability, and the structure can be disassembled. This allows re-using the glass. This thesis investigates the design of an interlocking structure and compares this with an adhesively bonded structure in terms of its structural behaviour and assembly. To this end, a brick geometry for an irregular curved surface is designed, different connector shapes for the interlocking elements are evaluated based on their ability to withstand lateral forces, found through experimental testing. Furthermore, the interlayer between different brick layers is chosen based on literature review, a building system is designed and its structural behaviour is validated. It is found that interlocking structures have a lower stiffness than adhesively bonded structures. But because of the lower stiffness, it has a higher flexibility. In case of an impact, it has the tendency to move back in its original location when the impact force is removed and gives a warning before it fails where an adhesively bonded structure would suddenly break. Next to the structural differences, the assembly also changes. Due to the use of an interlayer there is more space for tolerances in the surface of the bricks and the bricks can be dry-stacked. Although during assembly it is important for both structures to prevent eccentricity.