Does Finite Element Analysis need improvement?

  • Posted on: 21 February 2017
  • By: ashok

Does Finite Element Analysis (FEA) need improvement or it is rock solid?


When a young mechanical engineer starts his learning he is quickly taught that the mechanical world is divided into two binary halves. One half is rigid structures where the component parts do not move relative to other parts and that all reactions are local. FEA rules this world. The second half is the world of machines where parts do move in relationship to other parts. Dynamics, kinematics and tribology rule this world but FEA is not far away when it comes to analyzing each individual component of the machine as that component can be seen as a rigid structure in most cases (except for springs and hydraulic devices).

One Ring to Rule Them All

So is FEA the one ring rule to rule them all? Are there structures that do not fit in the neat categories above? If yes, are they worth studying to see if they can be analyzed by FEA, or does FEA need improvement to analyze them?

543 models

  • Posted on: 15 November 2015
  • By: ashok

What I call a 543 model is correctly called a rhombicosidodecahedron. It is often abbreviated as RID.

As prior to thinking about this I had taught the students of Vigyan Ashram how to build a big lantern based on only squares and equilateral triangles, it was logical to call this shape based on pentagons, squares and equilateral triangles as 543 reflecting the number of sides of the shapes inside it. The previous shape is then called 43. Here are two pictures.

Bamboo Tunnel Proof Of Concept

  • Posted on: 2 January 2012
  • By: ashok

Bamboo Tunnel is an attempt to build a rectangular plan based tensegrity structure that functions as a poly-house for growing agriculture products under it.

Bamboo Grove

After I had shown the paper hub and plastic strut model, Vigyan Ashram, Pabal, invited me to construct a proof of concept Bamboo Tunnel that they could show case to nearby farmers. Vigyan Ashram is large-hearted in spirit but functions with many limitations on its budget. They were ready to provide me with all the labor and tools that I wanted, but did not want to spend any out of pocket money on the project. They had a bamboo grove on the site and invited me to use some older bamboo and some green shoot bamboo to build the tunnel. Even though such a structure would not have a long life, I jumped at the opportunity as the material was good enough for a proof of concept project. I am thankful to Vigyan Ashram for the support during the project.

Bamboo Tunnel / Polyhouse

  • Posted on: 15 October 2011
  • By: ashok


This page shows the design of a Bamboo Tunnel. A bamboo tunnel is also called a green house or poly-house. It improves the yields of products grown under it.


  1. What is a Bamboo Tunnel / Polyhouse?
  2. Bamboo as a structural material
  3. Prior Designs
  4. New Design based on the rhombicuboctahedron

Angled iron icosahedron-based dome

  • Posted on: 25 September 2011
  • By: ashok

This page uses photographs to show a step by step assembly of a 3 frequency Icosahedron based Dome made of angled iron. The dome was put up by architecture students from all over North India and a supervising team from Vigyan Ashram, Pabal Pune at IPS, Indore over two days time of 23rd and 24th September 2011.

Venue of Dome Raising

The Invitation

The students invitation to Vigyan Ashram, Pabal Pune:

We the students body of School of Architecture, IPS Academy, Indore are hosting the Zonal NASA Convention 2011 on 23rd, 24th and 25th September 2011. We came to know about the practical training programme that you provide regarding the "GEODESIC DOME". -- Gunjan Badjatya, Convenor, NASA Zone -2, Zonal NASA 2011, IPSA, Indore

Vigyan Ashram accepted this invitation and sent a team of 3 persons to Indore. The two people who were experienced in raising domes were Arvind Gosavi and Kasim Bhai. A person with some theoretical knowledge of Geodesic domes and their mathematics was Ashok Mathur.

Bamboo Domes

  • Posted on: 28 July 2010
  • By: ashok


I would like to showcase a sustainable bamboo dome that was recently set up at Vigyan Ashram, Pabal, Pune, India. The three frequency icosahedron dome uses sustainable bamboo poles. By itself, and as displayed, the bamboo dome does not serve any habitation needs or any other needs. Yet is shows that thin bamboo sticks of fairly long spans have incredible strength in right geometries.