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INTRODUCTION
MEMBRANE STRUCTURESARE SPATIAL STRUCTURES MADE OUT OF TENSIONED MEMBRANES. THE

STRUCTURAL USE OF MEMBRANES CAN BE DIVIDED INTO PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES AND TENSILE
MEMBRANE STRUCTURES. IN THESE THREE KINDS OF STRUCTURE, MEMBRANES WORK TOGETHER WITH
CABLES, COLUMNS AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION MEMBERS TO FIND A FORM. MEMBRANES ARE ALSO USED
AS NON-STRUCTURAL CLADDING

THE COMMON MEMBRANES USED IN MEMBRANE STRUCTURES INCLUDE:

PVC COATED POLYESTER FABRIC

TRANSLUCENTPOLYETHYLENEFABRIC

PVC COATEDGLASS FIBERFABRIC

PTFECOATED GLASS FIBER FABRIC


PVC FOIL

ETFEFOIL

PNEUMATIC
STRUCTURES

PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES
PNEUMATIC STRUCTURE IS A MEMBRANE WHICH CARRIES LOAD DEVELOPED FROM THE TENSILE
STRESSES. ITS STABLIZATION IS DONE BY PRESTRESSING THE MEMBRANE EITHER BY:
A) APPLYING AN EXTERNAL FORCE WHICH PULLS THE MEMBRANE TAUT
B) INTERNAL PRESSURIZING IF THE MEMBRANE IS VOLUME ENCLOSING. SUCH STRUCTURES ARE
CALLED PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
1. LIGHT WEIGHT
- THE WEIGHT OF THE STRUCTURE AS COMPARED TO THE AREA IT COVERES IS VERY LESS
- LOW AIR PRESSURE IS SUFFICIENT TO BALANCE IT
2. SPAN
- FOR PNEUMATIC MEMBRANE, THERE IS NO THEORETICAL MAXIMUM SPAN AS DETERMINED BY
STRENGTH, ELASTICITY, SPECIFIC WEIGHT OR ANY OTHER PROPERTY.
- IT IS HARDLY POSSIBLE TO SPAN A DISTANCE OF OVER 36KM. WITH A STEEL CABLES AS THEY WOULD
FAIL BECAUSE OF THEIR INABILITY TO SUSTAIN THEIR OWN WEIGHT. BUT WITH PNEUMATICS, SUCH
SPANS ARE QUIET POSSIBLE.

3. SAFETY
- PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES ARE SAFER THAN ANY OTHER STRUCTURE. OTHERWISE, A PROPER
SHOULD BE TAKEN WHILE ESTABLISHING

CARE

- PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES CANT BE DESTROYED BY FIRE QUICKLY AND TOTALLY


4. QUICK ERECTION AND DISMANTLING
- SUITABLE FOR TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE AS EASY TO DISMANTLE AS TO
ESTABLISH.
5. GOOD NATURAL LIGHT
- GIVES GOOD NATURAL LIGHT AS TRANSLUCENT/TRANSPARENT PLASTIC SHEETS.

TYPES OF PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES


AIR SUPPORTED STRUCTURES
- IT CONSIST OF A SINGLE MEMBRANE (ENCLOSING A FUNCTIONALLY USEFUL SPACE) WHICH IS SUPPORTED
BY A SMALL INTERNAL PRESSURE DIFFERENCE.THE INTERNAL VOLUME OF A BUILDING AIR IS CONSIQUENTLY AT A
PRESSURE HIGHER THAN ATMOSPHERIC. THE AIR SUPPORTED STRUCTURE USES A LOW POSITIVE PRESSURE TO
SUPPORT A MEMBRANE OVER A GIVEN AREA. AIR MUST BE SUPPLIED CONTANTLY BECAUSE OF THE CONTINOUS
LEAKAGE, PRIMARILY THROUGH THE BUILDINGS USED MOST OFTEN BECAUSE OF :

THEIR RELATIVELY LOW COST


THEIR SIMPLICITY OF DESIGN AND FABRICATION

AIR INFLATED STRUCTURE


- IT IS SUPPORTED BY PRESSURIZED AIR CONTAINED WITHIN INFLATED BUILDING ELEMENT. THE INTERNAL
VOLUME OF BUILDING AIR REMAINS AT ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE. THE PRESSURIZED AIR IN THE PILLOW SERVES
ONLY TO STABLIZING THE LOAD CARRYING MEMBRANE. THE COVERED SPACE IS NOT PRESSURIZED.
ADVANTAGES OF AIR- INFLATED / AIR FRAME STRUCTURE:

THE ABILITY FOR SELF SUPPORT


THE POTENTIAL TO SUPPORT AN ATTACHED STRUCTURE

CLASSIFICATION OF PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES


PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES CAN BE FURTHER SUBDIVIDED AS:
1) TYPE OF DIFFRENTIAL PRESSURE
2) DEGREE OF DIFFRENTIAL PRESSURE
3) TYPE OF SURFACE CURVATURE
4) PROPORTIONS

1. TYPE OF DIFFRENTIAL PRESSURE


A) PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES USE EITHER POSITIVE PRESSURE OR NEGATIVE PRESSURE.
B) IN POSITIVE (+) PRESSURE SYSTEM, THE MEMBRANE IS ALWAYS CURVED OUTWARDS, WHEREAS IN
NEGATIVE (-) PRESSURE SYSTEMS THE MEMBRANE IS CURVED INWARDS.

2. DEGREE OF DIFFERNTIAL PRESSURE


A. LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS
- THESE SYSTEMS ARE PROVIDED WITH LOW
PRESSURE AIR; HENCE HAVE TO BE PROVIDED
WITH CONTINUOUS SUPPLY OF AIR.

B. HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEMS


- USED FOR EASY ERECTION & DISMANTLING;
THE PRESSURE DIFFERENCE IS B/W2000-7000MM
OF WATER PRESSURE (100 TO 1000 TIMES) LOW
PRESSURE SYSTEMS.THESE HIGH PRESSURE AIR
INFLATED SYSTEMS ARE EITHER HAVING A SINGLE
VALVE SYSTEM OR A DOUBLEVALVE SYSTEMS.

3. TYPE OF SURFACE CURVATURES


THESE STRUCTURES CAN ALSO BE CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO THE TYPES OF CURVATURE ON THE OUTER
SURFACE:
A. SINGLE CURVED
B. DOUBLY CURVED IN THE SAME DIRECTION OR SYNCLASTICS
C. DOUBLY CURVED IN OPPOSITE DIRECTION OR ANTICLASTIC

4. PROPORTIONS
ON THE BASIS OF DIFFERENT PROPORTIONS, PNEUMATIC STRUCTURES CAN BE:
TWO DIMENSION OF SIMILAR SIZE AND ONE LARGER DIMENSION

EX. TUBES, MASTS, COLUMNS, TOWERS

TWO DIMENSIONS OF SIMILAR SIZE AND ONE SMALLER DIMENSION


EX. CUSHIONS, LENSES, DISCUSS, MATTRESSES
THREE DIMENSIONS OF SIMILAR SIZE

EX. BALOONS, BALLS, SPHERES, BUBBLES

MATERIALS

ISOTROPIC

- THESE SHOW THE SAME STRENGTH AND STRETCH IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

EXAMPLES:
a. PLASTIC FILMS - THESE ARE PRIMARILY PRODUCED FROM PVC, POLY ETHYLENE, POLYESTER, POLYAMIDE
b. FABRICS - THESE MAY BE MADE OF GLASS FIBRES OR SYNTHETICFIBRES WHICH ARE COATED IN A PVC,
POLYESTER OR POLYURETHENE FILM.
c. RUBBER MEMBRANE - THEY ARE THE LIGHTEST AND MOSTFLEXIBLE.
d. METAL FOILS - THEY POSSESS A VERY HIGH GAS DIFFUSION RESISTANCE AND HIGH TENSILE STRENGTH.ONE
OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS IN THE USE OF METAL FOILS IS IN NEED TO PRODUCE VERY EXACT CUTTING PATTERNS.

ANISOTROPIC MATERIALS
- THESE DO NOT SHOW THE SAME STRENGTH AND STRETCHABILITY IN ALL DIRECTIONS. THEY HAVE
DIRECTION ORIENTED PROPERTIES.
EXAMPLES:
a.WOVEN FABRICS - THEY HAVE TWO MAIN DIRECTION OF WEAVE.
b. GRIDDED FABRIC - THESE ARE COARSE-WEAVE MADE OFORGANIC MINERAL OR SYNTHETIC FIBRES OR
METALLIC NETWORKS. THEY ARE PARTICULARLY USED WHERE MAXIMUM LIGHT TRANSMISSION AND HIGH
STRENGTH IS REQUIRED.
c. SYNTHETIC RUBBERS - COMBINATION OF PLASTIC AND RUBBER.THEY CAN TAKE BETTER WEAR AND TEAR.
THEY ARE LATEST AND ARE MORE RESISTANT TO ELONGATION.
d. PLASTICS - LIKE WOVEN FABRICS. ITS ADVANTAGE IS THAT THEY HAVE MORE OF TENSILE STRENGTH THAN
NORMALLY MANUFACTURED PLASTIC SHEETS.

TENSILE
STRUCTURE

TENSILE MEMBRANE STRUCTURE


A TENSILE STRUCTURE IS A BUILDING THAT IS MADE FROM MATERIALS UNDER TENSION THIS COULD
BE A CABLE-NET SUPPORTING A FABRIC OR SHEET MATERIAL, OR IT COULD BE MADE ENTIRELY FROM
FABRIC. MOST OFTEN USED JUST FOR THE ROOF OF A BUILDING, IT IS A RELATIVELY NEW FORM OF
CONSTRUCTION

TENSION ROOFS OR CANOPIES ARE THOSE IN WHICH EVERY PART OF THE STRUCTURE IS LOADED ONLY IN
TENSION, WITH NO REQUIREMENT TO RESIST TO COMPRESSION OR BENDING FORCES.

TYPES OF TENSILE
STRUCTURE

CABLE

TENT

PNEUMATIC

TENT

TENT
A SEPARATE A MEMBER OF STRUCTURAL CABLES & SIDES VERTICALLY SUPPORTS A NONSTRUCTURAL
WEATHERSHIELD.

A TENT IS A SHELTER CONSISTING OF SHEETS OF FABRIC OR OTHER MATERIAL DRAPED OVER OR

ATTACHED TO A FRAME OF POLES OR ATTACHED TO A SUPPORTING ROPE. WHILE SMALLER TENTS MAY BE
FREE-STANDING OR ATTACHED TO THE GROUND, LARGE TENTS ARE USUALLY ANCHORED USING ROPES
TIED TO STAKES OR TENTS PEGS.

TYPES OF TENTS

POLE-SUPPORTED TENT:

- A TENT THAT FEATURES A SET OF INDIVIDUAL POLES ARRANGED BENEATH THE FABRIC ROOF TO
SUPPORT AND DEFINE THE SHAPE OF THE STRUCTURE. THE FABRIC ROOF IS TENSIONED OVER THE POLES
AND ATTACHED TO ROPES AND/OR CABLE SAT DESIGNATED SPOTS AROUND THE FABRICS EDGE. THE
ROPES/CABLES ARE ANCHORED TO THE GROUND USING STAKES, AUGERS OR WEIGHTS AROUND THE
PERIMETER OF THE TENT. ALSO REFERRED TO AS A PUSH-POLE TENT.

PIPE FRAME-SUPPORTED TENT:

- A TENT WITH AN ASSEMBLED FRAMEWORKMADE OF ALUMINUM OR STEEL PIPES, TUBES OR OTHER

EXTRUSIONS, WHICH SUPPORTS THE FABRICROOF AND DEFINES THE SHAPE OF THE STRUCTURE. THE RIGID
FRAMEWORK ALLOWS THE TENT TOBE FREE-STANDING WITHOUT ADDITIONAL SUPPORT, BUT REQUIRES THE
SAME ROPE OR CABLEANCHORING SYSTEM AS A POLE-SUPPORTED TENT TO HOLD IT IN PLACE, AS
SPECIFIED BY APPLICABLEFIRE OR BUILDING CODES.

BOX-BEAM, FRAME-SUPPORTED TENT:


- A TENT THAT FEATURES AN ASSEMBLED FRAMEWORK OF BOX BEAMS, I-BEAMS OR TRUSS ARCHES

THAT SUPPORT THE FABRIC ROOF AND DEFINE THE SHAPE OF THE STRUCTURE. ALSO REFERRED TO AS A
"FREE-SPAN TENT.

TENSILE TENT:
- A FABRIC STRUCTURE THAT SHARES SOME CHARACTERISTICS WITH THE POLE-SUPPORTED TENT,

BUT RELIES MORE ON THE TENSIONING OF THE FABRIC ROOF FOR ITS STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY AND SHAPE.
THE USE OF TENSIONED FABRIC TO RESIST APPLIED LOADS AND TO SHAPE THE FABRIC MEMBRANE MEANS
LESS OF A TRADITIONAL SUPPORT STRUCTURE IS NEEDED TO MAINTAIN IT.

LIMITATIONS
CANNOT WITHSTAND ABNORMAL WEATHER CONDITIONS
NOT AVAILABLE TO BE USED FOR MULTI-STOREY CONSTRUCTION
IMPRACTICAL FOR LONG-TERM USE
NOT COMFORTABLE RELATIVE TO PERMANENT STRUCTURES
LIMITED PRIVACY

CONSTRUCTION ISSUES
THE CONSTRUCTION OF TENT MAY TAKE MINUTES OR DAYS DEPENDING ON SIZE.CONSTRUCTION

USUALLY BEGINS BY ROLLING OUT THE MEMBRANE.THEN THE POLES ARE INSERTED INTO THE MEMBRANE
EITHER WITH SLEEVES OR WITH THE TOP END BEING PLACED INTO THE REINFORCED HOLES.THEN THE
POLES ARE ANCHORED INTO THE GROUND USING STAKES OR ROPES ATTACHED TO THE POLES.FOR
SMALLER TENTS IT IS A RELATIVELY SIMPLE PROCESS, BUT LARGER TENTS USUALLY NEED SEVERAL
PEOPLE TO ERECT.

CABLE

CABLE
A SEPARATE GRID OF STRUCTURAL CABLES SUPPORTS A NONSTRUCTURAL WEATHER SHIELD.
A CABLE STAYED STRUCTURE IS A STRUCTURE THAT IS CHARACTERIZED BY A TENSIONING OF THE FABRIC OR
PLIABLE MATERIAL SYSTEM GENERALLY WITH WIRE OR CABLE TO PROVIDE THE CRITICAL STRUCTURAL
SUPPORT THE STRUCTURE.

CABLE STRUCTURES UTILIZE TECHNICAL FABRIC ROOF MEMBRANES, A COMBINATION OF CATENARY CABLES

AND CLAMPING SYSTEMS, AND A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF FRAMING TO CREATE PROPORTIONALLY LIGHTWEIGHT
STRUCTURES CAPABLE OF SPANNING GREAT DISTANCES. TENSILE MEMBRANES ARE AVAILABLE IN EXTERIOR
GRADE VINYL AND WOVEN FABRICS AND TEFLON COATED FIBERGLASS

PURPOSE OF CABLE STRUCTURE


CABLE STRUCTURES ARE FABRICATED AS PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY CANOPY STRUCTURES FOR

COMMERCIAL OR PUBLIC ASSEMBLY, TEMPORARY EVENT STRUCTURES, MODULAR INDUSTRIAL


CONSTRUCTION AND LANDSCAPE ARTWORK. THIS UNIQUE FABRIC CANOPY STRIVES FOR A LIGHT AND
AIRY LOOK BY MINIMIZING THE AMOUNT OF FRAMING AND UTILIZING THE STRENGTH OF THE FABRIC TO
HELP SUPPORT THE STABILITY AND EQUILIBRIUM OF THE STRUCTURE.
FABRIC TENSIONED STRUCTURES ARE TYPICALLY USED AS A LIGHTWEIGHT ROOF, PROTECTIVE COVER,
SHELTER, SKYLIGHT, ADVERTISEMENT AND/OR IDENTIFICATION FOR STADIUMS, ARENAS, SHOPPING
MALLS, AMPHITHEATERS, BANDSHELL, STAGE COVER, TENTS, AND SHADE STRUCTURES FOR AIRPORT AND
TRANSPORTATION DEPOTS.

TYPES OF CABLE STRUCTURE BASED ON ROOF


CLADDING
CABLE ROOFS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO CATEGORIES BASED ON WHETHER THE ROOF CLADDING IS SUPPORTED BY:

SIMPLE SUSPENDED CABLES


PRETENSIONED CABLE BEAMS
PRETENSIONED CABLE NETS
PRETENSIONED CABLE GRIDS

SIMPLY SUSPENDED CABLE STRUCTURE


THE CLADDING OF ROOF WHICH ARE RECTANGULAR OR TRAPEZOIDAL IN PLAN CAN BE SUPPORTED BY A
SERIES OF SIMPLY SUSPENDED CABLE HANGING IN VERTICAL PLANES.

IN ROOFS WHICH ARE CIRCULAR OR ELLIPTICAL IN PLAN,THE CABLES ARE SUSPENDED RADIALLY
AND ATTACHED AT THE PERIMETER OF THE ROOF TO A COMPRESSION RING AND AT THE CENTRE TO A
TENSION RING .FOR ROOF WHICH IN PLAN ARE ELLIPSOIDS OR OF SIMILAR SHAPES,A COMBINATION OF
THE ABOVE TWO GEOMETRICAL PATTERNS.

PRETENSIONED CABLE BEAMS STRUCTURES


LIGHTER & STIFFER SYSTEMS THAN THOSE ABOVE CAN
BE ACHIEVE IF A SECOND SET OF CABLES WITH
REVERSE CURVATURE IS CONNECTED TO THE
SUSPENSION CABLES.

THE RESULTING SYSTEM OF CABLE BEAMS WILL BE


QUITE STUFF IF TENSION UNDER ANY COMBINATION OF
APPLIED LOADING.

PRETENSIONED CABLE NETS STRUCTURES


THE 3

TYPE OF CABLE ROOF STRUCTURE IS THAT IN WHICH SUSPENSION & PRETENSION CABLES ALL LIE
IN ONE SURFACE AND FORM A LARGE NET.

RD

AS WITH CABLE BEAMS FOR A NET TO BE STIFF THE CABLE MUST BE IN TENSIONED & IT FOLLOWS
THAT THE GEOMETRY OF A NET MUST BE SUCH THAT ALL THE SURFACE IS ANTICLASTIC OR SADDLE
SHAPE.

PRETENSIONED CABLE GRID STRUCTURES


CABLE GRIDS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS DOUBLE LAYER NETS OR AS MULTIDIRECTIONAL SYSTEMS OF
INTERSECTING CABLE BEAMS.

HOWEVER, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF STRUCTURAL EFFICIENCY AND PRACTICAL


CONSIDERATION ONLY THOSE WHICH CAN BE CONSTRUCTED AS TOO OR POSSIBLY 3 DIRECTIONAL
CONVEX, CONCAVE AND CONVEX CONCAVE SYSTEM ARE PRACTICAL POSSIBILITIES

STIFFNESS OF CABLE STRUCTURES


THE STIFFNESS OF CABLE STRUCTURES IS MAINLY A FUNCTION OF :

THE CURVATURE OF CABLES

THE CROSS SECTIONAL AREAS OF CABLES

THE LEVEL OF PRETENSION

THE STIFFNESS OF THE BOUNDARY AND SUPPORTING STRUCTURE.

MATERIALS
THE FRAME AND CABLES ARE TYPICALLY CONSTRUCTED WITH STEEL. THE CABLES WILL EITHER BE

STAINLESS STEEL OR COATED WITH A CLEAR PVC FINISH TO PROTECT AGAINST CORROSION. THE STEEL
FRAME WILL BE FINISHED WITH A SMOOTH LAYER OF POWDER COAT OVER A BASE OF PRIMER. IF THE
STRUCTURE IS LOCATED NEAR A HARSH MARINE ENVIRONMENT, THEN AN EPOXY WET PAINT FINISH IS
PROVIDED.

CABLES JOINTS

PERSPECTIVE VIEW OF CABLE


DOME STRUCTURE

NOTABLE CABLE SUPPORTED ROOF STRUCTURES

Olympic Stadium, Munich

Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion,


New York ( U.S.A.)

PNEUMATIC

PNEUMATICS
THE TENSION FORCE IS CREATED BY AN INTERIOR POSITIVE PRESSURE AND THE MEMBRANE ACTS AS THE
WEATHER SHIELD.

TYPES OF STRUCTURE WITH SIGNIFICANT TENSION MEMBERS


LINEAR STRUCTURES

THREE DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURES

SURFACE-STRESSED STRUCTURE

LINEAR STRUCTURES

SUSPENSION BRIDGE

CABLE TRUSSES

STRAIGHT TENSIONED CABLES

DRAPED CABLES

CABLE-STAYED BEAMS OR TRUSSES

THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURES
BICYCLE WHEEL (CAN BE USED AS A ROOF IN A

TENSGRITY STRUCTURES

TENSAIRITY STRUCTURES

HORIZONTAL ORIENTATION)

3D CABLE TRUSSES

END