Software for Form-Finding and Cutting Patterns of Tensile Membrane Structures

Structural Analysis of Tensile Membrane, Cable, Shell, and Beam Structures

Membranes and cables often create impressive structures. The structural analysis software RFEM and RSTAB provide you with various options for form‑finding and cutting patterns of membrane structures, as well as form‑finding and analysis of cable structures. As a basis of the calculation, both programs use the large deformation analysis.

The Dlubal structural analysis programs have designed many spectacular cable, tensile, and membrane structures. This includes, for example, the spectacular membrane structure of the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.

  • Structural Analysis of Tensile Membrane, Cable, Shell and Beam Structures
  • Structural Analysis of Tensile Membrane, Cable, Shell and Beam Structures

Calculation in RFEM

The structural analysis software RFEM 6 allows you to calculate membranes together with the supporting structure (for example, cables). This will save you a lot of effort and time.

You can model the membranes as general surfaces as well as quadrangle surfaces. The quadrangle surfaces are general four-sided surfaces whose boundary lines do not have to lie in one plane. This allows you to model surfaces with anticlastic and synclastic curvature that are important for membrane structures.

There are the membrane and membrane orthotropic surface types available for the design. In the case of the membrane orthotropic type, you can define different stiffness properties, depending on the direction (in the warp and weft directions). Furthermore, RFEM provides you with the option to model and design connection plates, fittings, and so on. Does that sound just like your taste? Then find out more here:

Form-Finding of Membrane, Cable, Shell, and Beam Structures

Is your project not yet in optimal shape? The Form-Finding add-on for RFEM 6 finds an optimal shape of members subjected to axial forces and surface models subjected to tension. The shape is determined by the equilibrium between the member axial force or the membrane stress and the existing boundary conditions. This results in a new model shape with an impressed force consitions. You can use this as a universally applicable initial state for further calculation of the entire structure.

Consideration of Nonlinear Material Laws

Not everything is always linear – you know that for sure. Dlubal Software is also addressing this problem. The Nonlinear Material Behavior add-on for RFEM 6 allows you to consider material nonlinearities in RFEM.

There, you have the option to couple surfaces with the stiffness types "Membrane" with the material models "Isotropic | Nonlinear Elastic" and "Isotropic | Plastic". This allows you to simulate the nonlinear strain behavior of ETFE foils, fow example. Do you want to find out more? Then this way please:

Add-ons and Add-on Modules for Structural Analysis of Membrane, Cable, Shell, and Beam Structures

Does your project require the analysis of membrane, cable, shell, and beam structures? That's no problem for the Dlubal structural analysis programs. For all requests that go beyond the main program, we can recommend add-ons and additional modules. You can find them, for example, in the Steel Structures , Aluminum and Lightweight Structures, as well as Concrete Structures industries.

Cutting Patterns of Tensile Membrane Structures

Correct cutting patterns are particularly important for membrane structures. The RF‑CUTTING‑PATTERN add-on module for RFEM 5 gives you a helping hand in this case. It calculates and organizes cutting patterns for membrane structures. For this, boundary conditions of the cutting patterns on curved geometry are determined by boundary lines and independent planar cutting lines or geodesic cutting lines. Finally, the flattening process is performed according to the minimum energy theory.

Calculation in RSTAB

Do you aim to design a primary structure of membrane or cable structures? Then the frame & truss analysis software RSTAB 8 is the right choice for you. For the form-finding and structural design, you can use Easy by technet, for example. RSTAB has a special connection to it.

Easy determines the internal forces dimensions the membrane. Then, we recommend the transfer to the structural analysis software RSTAB to perform the design and, if necessary, the stability analysis.

Stiffnesses can have a considerable influence on the forces in the membrane. Therefore, the cross-sections optimized in RSTAB are transferred to Easy for a recalculation. If the design was successfull, the structural frame & truss analysis software RSTAB help you additionally as a tool for the graphical and tabular documentation of the structural analysis.

Interfaces for Data Exchange

As in the case of membrane and cable structures, the following also applies to structural analysis software: Flexibility is always good. Therefore, the Dlubal structural analysis software can be integrated seamlessly into the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process. Use a large number of interfaces to exchange data of digital building models with RFEM or RSTAB.

The Webservice provides you with a programmable interface. You can use it to read and write data from or to RFEM and RSTAB.

Support and Learning

Regardless of whether you are planning a solid or a light-weight construction project: We are always at your side. Because customer service is a fundamental pillar of the Dlubal Software company philosophy. We also offer you all the support you need in your daily work. Have a look around. There is a lot to discover!

Contact Us

Contact Dlubal

Do you have any questions about our products or which are best suited for your design projects? Contact us via phone, email, chat, or forum, or search the FAQ page, available 24/7.

+1 267 702 2815

[email protected]

Models to Download

Models to Download

Find a variety of structural analysis models of membrane and cable structures to download, which you can use for training purposes or for your projects.

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RFEM 5
RFEM

Main Program

Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids, and contact elements

Price of First License
4,350.00 EUR
RSTAB 8
RSTAB

Main Program

Structural engineering software for designing frame, beam, and truss structures, as well as performing linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions

Price of First License
2,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-FORM-FINDING

Add-on Module

Form-finding of tensile membrane and cable structures

Price of First License
2,200.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-CUTTING-PATTERN

Add-on Module

Generation of cutting patterns for tensile membrane structures

Price of First License
2,800.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL

Add-on Module

Stress analysis of steel surfaces and members

Price of First License
1,350.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL EC3

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to Eurocode 3

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL Warping Torsion

Module Extension for RF-STEEL EC3 and RF-STEEL AISC

Warping torsion analysis according to the second-order theory with 7 degrees of freedom

Price of First License
1,100.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL Plasticity

Module Extension for RF-STEEL EC3

Plastic design of cross-sections according to the Partial Internal Forces Method (PIFM) and Simplex Method

Price of First License
1,100.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL AISC

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the American standard ANSI/AISC 360

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL SIA

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Swiss standard SIA 263

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL IS

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Indian standard IS 800:2007

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL BS

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the British standard BS 5950-1:2000 or British Annex BS EN 1993-1-1

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL GB

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Chinese standard GB 50017-2003

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL CSA

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Canadian standard CSA S16

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL AS

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Australian standard AS 4100-1998

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL NTC-DF

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Mexican standard NTC-DF 2004

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL SP

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Russian standard SP 16.13330.2011

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL SANS

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the South African standard SANS 10162-1:2011

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL NBR

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Brazilian standard ABNT NBR 8800:2008

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL HK

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Code of Practice for the Structural Use of Steel 2011 (Buildings Department - Hong Kong)

Price of First License
1,850.00 EUR
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL Fatigue Members

Add-on Module

Fatigue design of members and sets of members according to EN 1993-1-9

Price of First License
1,450.00 EUR