UHP-FRC for Architectural Structural Columns with Non-Euclidean Geometries

  • Bradley Bell (The University of Texas at Arlington)
  • Christopher D. Laskoski (The University of Texas at Arlington)
  • Shih-Ho Chao (The University of Texas at Arlington)
  • Venkatesh Kaka orcid logo (The University of Texas at Arlington)


Columns having a non-Euclidean geometry offer a new type of architecture with formal and structural possibilities. Specifically, branching concrete columnar structures offer a unique opportunity to merge biomimetic structural geometry with new computationally controlled performance criteria. Typical plain concrete cannot be applied for these types of geometries due to its brittle nature and sensitivity to stress concentration. Non-Euclidean geometries also make the conventional reinforcing methodology difficult to be practically implemented. For this research, the introduction of ultra-high-performance fiber reinforced concrete (UHP-FRC) opens a new way of advancing beyond some of the limitations of conventional construction methods for conventional reinforced concrete. UHP-FRC provides very high compressive and tensile strengths and ductility against compressive forces. Moreover, with these mechanical properties, conventional reinforcement can be nearly eliminated. In addition, UHP-FRC’s high flow-ability allows producing even challenging geometries. The formwork used for these columns presents a unique solution for assembling 2D materials in complex 3D forms. In this research, the two-legged and three-legged branching and twisting scaled columns all rely upon developable geometry that has been cut via a CNC machine out of 1/16th inch polypropylene. The parts are seamed together by hand via a ‘zipper’ connection that is the result of running an algorithmic script on the edge geometry of each edge of adjoining parts. The control of this script is performed through the computational software that produced the hexagonal cross-section. The alternating tabs lock the adjacent edges into place and ensure that no moisture or concrete can escape through the form work seams. This paper discusses the progress of this novel UHP-FRC application and the experimental testing results of columns designed with non-Euclidean geometries.

Keywords: columnar branching, semi-rigid formwork, ultra-high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete

How to Cite:

Bell, B., Laskoski, C. D., Chao, S. & Kaka, V., (2016) “UHP-FRC for Architectural Structural Columns with Non-Euclidean Geometries”, International Interactive Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Concrete 1(1). doi:

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Published on
18 Jul 2016