Design and Analysis of Membrane Structures in FEM-Based Software
by Rostislav Lang, Germany
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Department of Architecture, Facility Management and Geoinformation
Tutors: Prof. Dr.‑Ing. Robert Off, Prof. Dr.‑Ing. Kai‑Uwe Bletzinger
Programs Used: RFEM, RF‑FORM‑FINDING, RF‑CUTTING‑PATTERN
Membrane structures are one of the current trends in civil engineering and architecture. Their shapes cannot be chosen freely since they must be physically suitable because the material used for tensile structures can withstand no bending or compression, and thus shapes under tension have to be used. This is the first task – known as form‑finding – to solve when designing membrane structures, involving both the architectural requirements and physical principles.
After the form‑finding is performed, it is necessary to check the load‑bearing capacity and other code-specific or investor's requirements in structural analysis. The structural response of such structures is strongly nonlinear in terms of both the impact of geometry changes and material behaviour.
If all the requirements are fulfilled, the structure can be fabricated. To make this step possible, it is necessary to generate cutting patterns as membrane structures exhibit double curvature and therefore, they have to be approximated by a certain amount of planar patterns.
The work focuses on all those steps. A theoretical introduction will be presented in the first part of each chapter, then practical examples will be shown to demonstrate the mentioned statements.