A Planning a Tensile Structure: Learn Everything

You may design a tensile structure design with any number of different shapes as its base, including a cone, barrel vault, folding plate, hyperbolic paraboloid, or even a combination of these. Remember that a membrane with an identical stress field will take the shape of a soap film at the bounds above. If one cannot conceive a soap film evolving into that shape without an external stimulus, then the membrane will not acquire that form without one.

Acknowledge the conditions at the border. What kinds of cables, such as radial cables, edge cables (also called “catenary cables”), ridge cables, valley cables, etc., will be used? Will the clamping to steel beams merely be on a “hard perimeter”? Are the poles going to be guyed with wires at the top or moment connected at the base? If the mast is a fabric cone, will it be secured to the ground, or will cables suspend it in the air?

Pick out software for the layout for the 3d model to 2d pattern. Software tools available on the market may be used to determine the form of a fabric based on its shape and boundary conditions. If member sizing is the task at hand, a more robust implementation of the Finite Element Method software may be required.


If just the shape of the fabric is needed, all that is needed is to plug in the boundary conditions and fabric mesh into the appropriate form-finding software and get the shape. Fabrics that are very “flat” should be avoided since they make it difficult to solve (carry) weights. Remember that the membrane can only relieve stresses by deflecting and re-directing them in tension toward the periphery. The perimeter must be big enough to support the tension loads, which often necessitates using a “compression ring” or frame around the outside or some other tie-back when the perimeter lacks a continuous ring/frame. A pond could form if there are any horizontal or nearly horizontal membrane patches because they might deflect when laden with snow or rain.

To achieve accurate member sizing or complete engineering tensile structure design, it is necessary to construct a detailed FEM model that considers material and section properties. Additionally, the loading must be established. Prestress and Dead Load, Live Load, Wind Load (multiple directions if the structure is not symmetric), Thermal and Seismic if applicable, and Stability Check are just a few examples of load situations. Assessing the potential for ponding is another step that must be taken throughout this process. A substantial safety factor must be considered when determining membrane strength (typically 5).

We suggest making a physical model for understanding the behavior better and validating the form. The physical model may also demonstrate the constructability of the tensioned membrane structure. Constructability must be considered at every level of the design process to ensure that the intended tensile structure designcan be achieved.


This complex 3d model to 2d pattern must be implemented if the building is to be built. The FEM model utilized for analysis may be based on work point and centerline geometry, despite our knowledge that the steel components, connections, clamps, and cable ends have restricted diameters and must be correctly linked on-site. This indicates that secondary steel may be shop welded to the main steel to accommodate perimeter clamping. Given that there could be no room for the ear plates and cable terminations/pins in areas where several cables converge simultaneously, the analysis model might need to be modified.

To make room for these parts, it may be necessary to remove a portion of the membrane at an angle; it is important to examine whether the removed material may be left unreinforced or whether it must be reattached. When feasible, penetrations inside the membrane’s field should be avoided, although sometimes, this is not practicable. Clamping, reinforcing, or other steps to account for loads, deflections, and watertightness at certain points should now be specified.

A tensile structure is an element that doesn’t come with any bending or compression. Since a tensile membrane structure is capable of spanning large distances attractively and economically, they are most often used as a roof. You can get to see these kinds of structures in warehousing, sports facilities, exhibition venues, and storage buildings. The professionals use fabric structure design software in order to create unique designs in no time.

Take a quick look at this blog and enlighten yourself with certain knowledge related to the types, shapes, and advantages of these tensile structures.

These are the structures where all the members are placed in linear tensile forces. The compression members tend to support these linear members. However, the majority of the loads are carried out by tensile members. Quickly check out some of the classifications of a linear tensile structure:

●       Draped cables

●       Suspension bridges

●       Cable trusses

●       Cable-stayed beams or trusses

●       Straight tension cables

Surface Stressed Tensile Structures

Here, the surface members are as well as the tension-bearing members. One of the great examples of this type of tensile structure design is Fabric tensile structure. Some of the types are mentioned below:

●       Prestressed membranes

●       Fabric structure

●       Gridshell

●       Pneumatically stressed membranes

Three Dimensional Tensile Structures

These are the combination of several elements that are mostly in tension. They are usually visible in the sports arenas where they serve as roofs. Go through the classification stated below here:

●       Bicycle wheel

●       Tensegrity structures

●       3D cable trusses

Tensile Structures- What Are the Multiple Advantages?

Below given are some of the advantages related to these tensile structures; keep reading:

●       They come in a durable and lightweight nature

●       It includes less site interruption time accompanied by short building time

●       The tensile structures have large spans

●       They can adapt themselves to a plethora of building technologies related to glass, cement, steel, and stone

●       Maintaining these tensile structures is extremely simple and easier

●       If you ever feel like replacing or repairing them, you will no longer have to deal with a lot of hassles

●       Installing these tensile structures is easy; the professionals tend to do it in an effortless manner

●       The appealing design aesthetics are potent enough to draw massive attention and engagement

●       Tensile structures can be used in various industries and sectors

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