Analysis and design of membrane structures: Results of a round robin exercise

P.D. Gosling, B.N. Bridgens, A. Albrecht, H. Alpermann, A. Angeleri, M. Barnes, N. Bartle, R. Canobbio, F. Dieringer, S. Gellin, W.J. Lewis, N. Mageau, R. Mahadevan, J.-M. Marion, P. Marsden, E. Milligan, Y.P. Phang, K. Sahlin, B. Stimpfle, O. SuireJ. Uhlemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (SciVal)


Tensile fabric structures are used for large-scale iconic structures worldwide, yet analysis and design methodologies are not codified in most countries and there is limited design guidance available. Non-linear material behaviour, large strains and displacements and the use of membrane action to resist loads require a fundamentally different approach to structural analysis and design compared to conventional roof structures.The aim of the round robin analysis exercise presented here is to understand the current state of analysis practice for tensile fabric structures, and to assess the level of consistency and harmony in current practice. The exercise consists of four precisely defined tensile fabric structures, with participants required to carry out the form finding and load analysis of each structure and report key values of stress, deflection and reactions.The results show very high levels of variability in terms of stresses, displacements, reactions and material design strengths, and highlight the need for future work to harmonise analysis methods and provide validation and benchmarking for membrane analysis software. Greater consistency is required to give confidence in the analysis and design process, to enable third party checking to be carried out in a meaningful and efficient manner, to provide a harmonious approach for Eurocode development, and to enable the full potential of tensile structures to be realised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-328
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


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