Tensile structures still lag behind in their popularity as most
of the codes have still not mentioned the design of these
structures for general construction practices. These
structures have very less literature published for Structural
Engineers to become aware of this new emerging technique
and hardly any university has included the topic in their
A major distinguishing factor when it comes to tensile
structures is the material used. As the name suggests, these
structures use sheets of woven fabrics coated with polymeric
resin for this purpose. The coating is useful for the following
The yarn can be protected against abrasion.
The yarn can be protected against UV damage.
It helps in stabilizing the unstable fabric geometry.
It helps in seam joints during the fabrication stages.
Even a small change in the loading conditions can affect the
deflection patterns considerably. Membrane structures have
to undergo pretension so that the fabric will achieve the
predefined pre-stress levels at the correct geometry
once the creep of the membrane has occurred. These
structures are very light weight and so they have hardly any
impact of the acceleration produced from the ground, in case
THE DESIGN PROCESS
“Formfinding” is a process by which initial shape of
membrane is obtained. This process guarantees that the
overall shape is statically balanced. It is crucial to verify the
warp and weft forces arising into the fabric and also their
compliance with the boundary conditions. The architect’s
exquisite shape and the engineer’s structural constitution
should reverberate and bring elegance along with economy