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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 13
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper I.1

Form, Function and Behaviour in Structural Engineering Knowledge Representation

J.A. Abdalla, D.H.D. Phan and H.C. Howard

Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
J.A. Abdalla, D.H.D. Phan, H.C. Howard, "Form, Function and Behaviour in Structural Engineering Knowledge Representation", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Artificial Intelligence and Structural Engineering", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 1-9, 1991. doi:10.4203/ccp.13.1.1
Keywords: Form, Function, Behavior, Knowledge Representation, Primitive Object, Composite Object, Characterization Hierarchy, Relationship, Data Model, Product Model.

Typical structural engineering objects are complex entities that include large, yet closely related data and knowledge. A great deal of attention should be given to the representation of the elements that make up these complex objects. In order to reduce their inherent complexity, these objects can be decomposed into several simpler primitive objects which are related to themselves and also to their composite object by various relationships. A natural way of decomposing these objects is along the fundamental aspects of form, function and behavior of the design object which also correspond to the sources for data and knowledge of the object. Form (or structure) describes the physical characteristics of the object,function depicts the object role and its intended use, and behavior describes the object's manifestation of its functions, when subject to the environment stimuli. The structural engineer reasons about these fundamental aspects during the design process and across various stages of the object lifecycle. Consequently, form, function and behavior should be incorporated into the representation of the design object.

This paper addresses form, function, and behavior representation of structural engineering design objects. It then presents several sample hierarchies of primitive object classes that are characterized according to specific form, function, or behavior criteria. To illustrate the concept, the paper shows a detailed example of a base plate for a transmission pole. This work is part of a current effort to develop the Primitive-Composite data model for structural engineering that will also be briefly presented.

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