Tensile surface structures have been used in both permanent and temporary constructions. Using a light, flexible fabric as most important component, these structures have already displayed a great versatility in forms and uses as well as a high material performance and low self weight.

Key in using a prestressed fabric is the double curved surface, being it either synclastic or anticlastic. To achieve these shapes using a flat fabric, the complex shapes are approximated by a finite number of flat panels, called cutting patterns. Generating and producing these cutting patterns however requires a lot of expertise, is often very time consuming and requires the need to connect the different panels together, such as welding or stitching. Finding a method that facilitates temporary double curved structures by eliminating the need for a thought out cutting pattern, would greatly simplify the design process and broaden the use of fabrics in architectural applications.

During this preliminary research, we tested a very stretchable fabric material (Sioen F5637) to derive its material characteristics. Afterwards we designed a simple double curved structure, which starts from a single flat piece of this material, and modelled the transition from an untensioned, flat piece of fabric to a three dimensional pretensioned curved surface computationally to check the concept’s feasibility. Finally, the results from the computational model were verified with a small-scale prototype.

This paper gives an overview of the structure's design process and discusses both the advantages and limitations of using high straining fabrics in real life architectural applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVII International Conference on Textile Composites and Inflatable Structures
Subtitle of host publicationStructural Membranes 2015
EditorsE. Oñate, K.-U. Bletzinger, B. Kröplin
PublisherInternational Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE)
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-944244-8-9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
EventStructural Membranes 2015 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 19 Oct 201521 Oct 2015


ConferenceStructural Membranes 2015

    Research areas

  • Cutting patterns, Formfinding, Computational analysis, Tensile fabric

ID: 15325889