Software for Form-Finding & Cutting Patterns of Membrane Structures

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

The structural analysis programs RFEM and RSTAB provide various options for form‑finding and cutting patterns of tensile membrane structures, such as form‑finding and analysis of cable, shell and beam structures.

Both programs perform the calculation according to the large deformation analysis.

  • Membrane Structure
  • Membrane Structure
  • Membrane Structure
  • Membrane Structure

Calculation in RFEM

The structural analysis software RFEM designs membranes together with the supporting structure (for example cables).

Membranes can be modelled as general and quadrangle surfaces. The quadrangle surfaces are general quadrilateral surfaces whose boundary lines do not have to rest in one plane. Therefore, it is possible to model surfaces with anticlastic and synclastic curvature, which is characteristic for the membrane structures.

For the design, the surface types Membrane and Membrane-Orthotropic are available. It is possible to define different directional stiffness properties (in the warp and weft direction) for the surface type Membrane‑Orthotropic.

In addition, RFEM provides an option to model and design the connection plates, fittings, and others.

Form-Finding of Membrane and Cable Structures

RF‑FORM‑FINDING searches for shapes of structures subjected to tension or compression, such as membrane and cable structures, shells, and so on. The shape is calculated by the equilibrium between the surface stress (specified prestress and additional load such as self‑weight, pressure, etc.), and the given boundary requirements. The prestressed model is afterwards used as the initial state for all subsequent calculations.

Cutting Patterns of Membrane Structures

RF‑CUTTING‑PATTERN generates and organizes cutting patterns for membrane structures. Boundary conditions of the cutting patterns on curved geometry are determined by boundary lines and independent planar cutting lines or geodesic cutting lines. The flattening process is performed according to the minimum energy theory.

Calculation in RSTAB

In the frame & truss analysis software RSTAB, it is possible to design the primary construction of membrane and cable structures. Form-finding and framework design may be carried out in the engineering software Easy by Technet. The modular program system Easy performs especially the geometrically nonlinear calculation of membranes and pneumatic cushions. RSTAB has a special connection to this design program used for light framework structures.

The internal forces are determined in Easy by Technet where the membrane is also dimensioned. Then, it is necessary to import the data to the structural analysis program RSTAB by Dlubal Software in order to perform the design and stability analysis.

Since the stiffnesses may affect the forces in a membrane significantly, the cross-sections optimized in RSTAB are returned to Easy for recalculation during the iterative process. After the design, RSTAB can also be used as a tool for documentation of the structural analysis including tables and graphics.

Consideration of Nonlinear Material Laws

The RF-MAT NL add-on module allows for consideration of nonlinear material behavior in RFEM.

It offers the option to couple surfaces with the stiffness types "Membrane" and "Membrane-Orthotropic" with the material models "Isotropic nonlinear elastic 2D/3D" and "Isotropic plastic 2D/3D" (RF-MAT-NL add-on module required). This functionality enables the simulation of the nonlinear strain behavior of, for example, ETFE foils.

Add-on Modules for Structural Analysis of Cable and Membrane Structures

In addition to the RF-FORM-FINDING and RF‑CUTTING‑PATTERN add‑on modules for RFEM, you can find more useful add‑on modules for structural analysis of cable, membrane, shell, and beam structures under the Steel Structures, Aluminium and Light-Weight Structures, and Concrete Structures industry.

Interfaces for Data Exchange

The structural analysis software provided by Dlubal can be seamlessly integrated into the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process. A variety of interfaces allows you to exchange data from digital building models with RFEM or RSTAB.

Support and Learning

Customer service is one of the fundamental pillars of the Dlubal Software company philosophy. We also offer you all the support you need for your daily work.

Contact us

Contact Dlubal

Do you have any questions about our products or need advice on selecting the products needed for your projects?
Contact us via our free e-mail, chat, or forum support or find various suggested solutions and useful tips on our FAQ page.

+49 9673 9203 0

info@dlubal.com

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Doctoral Thesis on Membrane Structure Design According to FEA

This PhD thesis by Rostislav Lang deals with the design and analysis of membrane structures using FEA software.

The best I have used

"RFEM is the best I have used. I have experience with RISA, STAAD, ETABS, Visual Analysis, and others. In the tensile/fabric structure world, I've tried NDN, Forten, etc. Once you get used to RFEM's interface, it has no comparison to the others. Even with typical structures, it's much easier."

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
3,540.00 USD
RSTAB 8
Structural Frame Analysis Software RSTAB

Main Program

The structural engineering software for design of frame, beam and truss structures, performing linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions

Price of First License
2,550.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-FORM-FINDING

Add-on Module

Form-finding of tensile membrane and cable structures

Price of First License
1,750.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-CUTTING-PATTERN

Add-on Module

Generation of cutting patterns for tensile membrane structures

Price of First License
2,240.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL

Add-on Module

Stress analysis of steel surfaces and members

Price of First License
1,030.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL EC3

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to Eurocode 3

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
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
850.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL Plasticity

Module Extension for RF-STEEL EC3

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

Price of First License
850.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL AISC

Add-on Module

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

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL SIA

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Swiss standard SIA 263

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL IS

Add-on Module

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

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
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
1,480.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL GB

Add-on Module

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

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL CSA

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to the Canadian standard CSA S16

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL AS

Add-on Module

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

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
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
1,480.00 USD
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
1,480.00 USD
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
1,480.00 USD
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
1,480.00 USD
RFEM 5
RF-STEEL HK

Add-on Module

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

Price of First License
1,480.00 USD
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
1,120.00 USD