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Using fabric formwork, it is possible to cast architecturally interesting, optimised structures that use up to 40% less concrete than an equivalent strength prismatic section, thereby offering the potential for significant embodied energy savings in new concrete structures. This paper reports on the philosophy of and background to fabric formwork before techniques for the design, optimisation and shape prediction of fabric formed concrete beams are presented. The practicality of construction with non-orthogonal elements is discussed before the results of new structural test data, undertaken at the University of Bath on 4m span 'T' beam elements formed in reusable fabric moulds, are presented. Potential areas of future development for fabric formwork, including the use of woven advanced composite fabrics as permanent participating formwork and the feasibility of uniform strength prestressed beams, are then discussed.
J. J. Orr, MEng (Hons)
Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath
A. P. Darby, BSc, PhD, CEng, MIStructE
Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering, Dept of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath
T. J. Ibell, CEng, BSc(Eng), PhD, FIStructE, MICE, FHEA
Professor of Civil Engineering, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath
M. C. Evernden, MEng, PhD
Lecturer in Structural Engineering, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath
M. Otlet, BSc(Hons), CEng, FIStructE, FSFE
Director, Atkins Engineering and Major Projects, Atkins UK Ltd