Tensile membrane structure concept

What is a tensile membrane structure?

Tensile membrane structures are membranes that carry only tension, no compression or bending. It is  construction type that are commonly used in roof systems because of it cost-effective property and can span large areas. Its structural support maintains the form of the fabric roof material.

There are 2 shapes comprising tensile structures – anticlastic and synclastic.

Anticlastic type of structures are curved surfaces which have two opposite curvature but can be a merge of variety of free forms made up from basic shapes. Below are the examples of anticlastic curves:

The tensile fabric cone type

Orientation can be a single, multiple, fixed edge, catenary edges variations in peak heights, or inverted.

The tensile fabric arched vault type

Composed of parallel arches or crossed arches.

The tensile fabric hyper type

It has 2 opposing high points and 2 opposing low points.

The air supported type

Synclastic forms have two double curvatures in same direction. It used mainly in air supported structures.

Why use a tensioned membrane structure?

Heat Reduction and Natural Lighting

Tensile fabric structures diffuses light and manage heat load naturally. The white color of the membrane reflects light outward, causing less concentration of heat towards the inside.

Tensile fabric structures converts natural light to artificial in-house light. This conserves energy of up to 20%. Not only that it conserves energy, the dramatic effect of the light that diffuses through the fabric gives off stunning appeal to people.

Low Maintenance and Cost-Effective

Fabric structures has lower maintenance compared to glass. Cleaning process is less rigorous compared to typical galvanized roofing system.

Construction and materials cost are lesser. Membranes are solution to eliminate expansion joints. Building owners get more advantage on tensile support if they are planning for extension for wider span and coverage.

Fast Project Turn-over

Materials used for the construction phase is easily acquired through in-house fabric and steel fabrication. Tensile fabric structures are actually designed for speedy construction which addresses tight deadlines and last-minute events.

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