The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 59 (1981) > Issues > Issue 2 > Colloquium: Structures for the Future. Tensile Prestressing of Membranes to Increase Compressive Str
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Colloquium: Structures for the Future. Tensile Prestressing of Membranes to Increase Compressive Strength

This colloquium is intended to be an enjoyable experience, with a serious objective. Professor Sir Alan Harris, Mr J. Bobrowski, Professor E. Happold, Professor R. G. Taylor, and Mr C. Hobbs will present the short papers that follow, to initiate a stimulating and provocative informal discussion. A prewar aeroplane hangar structure is described, the roof of which consists of a series of hyperboloids of revolution supported on bowstring girders of 70 m clear span. The thickness of the membrane was 1.4 mm. The authors of the structure had intended that the membrane should be stabilised by tensioning it in a spanwise direction, thereby inducing tension on the membrane in a transverse direction as well. In fact, no advantage was taken of the membrane effect, since the hyperboloids were stiffened by light open-web beams spanning between the bowstring girders. Professor Sir Alan Harris