Current design considerations and practice for tensile fabric structures are discussed with reference to a recent project (Dalton Park, County Durham, UK). Non-linear fabric behaviour, large displacements and the use of membrane action to resist loads require a fundamentally different approach to structural design compared to traditional roof structures. The benefits to the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of fabric structures to be gained from a better understanding of fabric material properties are considered. An ongoing programme of research at the University of Newcastle aims to thoroughly explore the behaviour of architectural fabrics, and to use this knowledge to improve design practice. Areas of research include biaxial testing of in-plane material properties1, creep, shear and the development of a reliability based analysis and simulated installation analysis.
B. N. Bridgens, MEng
University of Newcastle & Arup
Ben Bridgens delivered an oral presentation at the 2003 Young Researchers Conference and won first prize
P. D. Gosling, BEng, MSc(Eng), DIC, PhD
University of Newcastle & Consultant to Arup
M. J. S. Birchall, MA(Cantab)(Eng), BA(Arch), MIStructE, CEng