Analysis & Design Software for Tensile Membrane Structures

3D Finite Element Analysis and Design

Structural engineering FEA software RFEM is the basis of a modular software system. RFEM is used to define structures, materials, and loads for planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells and members. The program also allows you to create combined structures as well as model solid and contact elements.

Form-Finding of Membrane Structures

RF‑FORM‑FINDING searches for shapes of structures subjected to tension or compression, such as membrane and cable structures. 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.

More Add-on Modules for Tensile Membrane Structure Designs

For structural analysis and design of tensile membrane structures or their substructures, find more useful add‑on modules under the Steel Structures industry.

Knowledge Base | Tensile Membrane Structures

  1. Figure 01 - Basic Shapes of Membrane Structures [4]

    Specific Requirements of Membrane Structures

    This paper is focused on the specific aspects of designing membrane structures. These structures have specific requirements such as form-finding and cutting patterns generation. These topics are the focus of many research works and there are many methods proposed to achieve the desired results. However in this paper these issues will be discussed more from the practical point of view than from the theoretical one. The paper will be followed by examples, which will complement the discussed topic and show the special attention required during the design process.

  2. 1 - General Data

    Form-Finding in RFEM

    The RF-FORM-FINDING add-on module determines equilibrium shapes of membrane and cable elements in RFEM. In this calculation process, the program searches for such a geometric position in which the surface stress/prestress of membranes and cables is in equilibrium with natural and geometric boundary conditions. This process is called form-finding (hereinafter referred to as FF). The FF calculation can be activated in RFEM globally in the "General Data" of a model, "Options" tab. After selecting the corresponding option, a new load case or a calculation process called RF-FORM FINDING is created in RFEM. An additional FF parameter is available for defining surface stress and prestress when entering cables and membranes. By activating the FF option, the program always starts the form-finding process before the pure structural calculation of internal forces, deformation, eigenvalues, etc., and generates a corresponding prestressed model for further analysis.

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Product Video: Add-on Modules RF-FORM-FINDING & RF-CUTTING-PATTERN

Dlubal Webinar: Form-Finding and Cutting Patterns of Membrane Structures in RFEM

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Dlubal Software is a member of the TensiNet Association.

Master Thesis on FEM Analysis of Membrane Structures

Masterarbeit Rostislav Lang

This master thesis by Rostislav Lang deals with analysis of membrane structures using the finite element software RFEM.

RFEM Main Program
RFEM 5.xx

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

RFEM Tensile Membrane Structures
RF-FORM-FINDING 5.xx

Add-on Module

Form-finding of tensile membrane and cable Structures

RFEM Tensile Membrane Structures
RF-CUTTING-PATTERN 5.xx

Add-on Module

Generation of cutting patterns for tensile membrane structures

RFEM Steel and Aluminium Structures
RF-STEEL EC3 5.xx

Add-on Module

Design of steel members according to Eurocode 3

RFEM Steel and Aluminium Structures
RF-STEEL Warping Torsion 5.xx

Module Extension for RF-STEEL EC3

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

RFEM Steel and Aluminium Structures
RF-STEEL Plasticity 5.xx

Module Extension for RF-STEEL EC3

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

RFEM Steel and Aluminium Structures
RF-ALUMINUM 5.xx

Add-on Module

Design of aluminium members according to Eurocode 9