Karamba for advanced timber analysis


(Voulpiotis) #1


I am a PhD student and I carry out research in tall timber buildings. I like the working interface of Karamba/Grasshopper and the speed of calculation of the finite elements by Karamba (the reason for this impressive speed is another good question if you can answer).

Before I embark into a Karamba adventure I need to ensure that I can do everything I need with the software, and after playing around with a simple structure the default components are not really convincing me. The potential for scripting stuff into it however sounds like a solution and I would like to know if anyone in here has succeeded in modelling the following:

  • Accounting for the anisotropic behaviour of timber as a material (not enough material parameters given in the inputs), or engineered wood product properties, like Glulam and CLT.
  • Creating iteration loops, for example for Monte Carlo Simulations (that could be scripted I am sure).
  • Accounting for material non-linearities, for example by inputting a stress-strain graph instead of a single value in the rotation stiffness Cr of a hinge.
  • Accounting for dynamic effects when it comes to sudden changes in a system, for example the speed of a forced displacement, or removal of a member or support.

If you have managed the above, please do let me know. I just want to know if they are possible and if they are, is it worth it? My other options are of course Matlab, RFEM, Robot, etc.

Many thanks in advance,



Hello Voulpiotis,

in Karamba3d 1.3.0 it is possible to define orthotropic materials for shell elements. There are no spiecialized marterials for Glulam and CLT however.

The creation of iteration loops is possible via the GH scripting component.

Material non-linearity as well as transient dynamic analysis are not supported in Karamba 1.3.0.


(Tim Messer) #3

Often people us Karama/Grasshopper to create the base models and then export using Geometry Gym’s components or similar to GSA, Robot, SCIA, Etabs.

This allows them to use the parametric nature of grasshopper combined with the loadings thru karamba then use preferred finite element program to finish the analysis.

(Voulpiotis) #4

Thanks Tim and Clemens. I will have to see how that GH/external FEA interface works. What is really nice in keeping everything in GH is that I see the changes live.

What I am trying to do is basically a reliability analysis on GH. This involves iterative simulations with random variables and can be carried out, as far as I understand, very well with Karamba and some scripting, but only for linear, static, isotropic material assumptions.

(Tim Messer) #5

Yes agreed, your statement would reflect my understandings.

(Kristina) #6

Hey- Just curious on the outcome of this. Did you have any success modeling and analyzing mass timber elements in Karamba?

(Voulpiotis) #7

Hi Kristina,

Not started yet! Lately I have been busy with a million things (#PhDlife) and pretty everything other than modelling…