Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2003

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

William R. Spillers

Second Advisor

M. Ala Saadeghvaziri

Third Advisor

Methi Wecharatana


Fabric structures can span large distances with a very low self-weight, which makes them very efficient for covering huge areas. They have attractive shapes and an appealing architecture. These properties make them very popular and they are used in many different kinds of buildings. Airports, stadiums and halls are typical examples where the use fabric structures is often recommendable.

Fabric structures are built mainly out of fabric and cables; two structural members that can only take tension stresses. Therefore these structural members must be prestressed in such a way that their shape can carry all loads that might affect the structure and maintain the tension. To find this shape is one important step of the design process of fabric structures.

The design process of fabric structures includes three steps: shape finding, static analysis and patteming. This thesis in concentrates on the shape finding of fabric structures using the Grid method. Different mathematical methods and computer codes are used to perform the shape finding of a fabric structure. These methods and codes are compared and discussed in order to find their advantages and disadvantages. Finally there are a few words about the nonlinear static analysis of fabric structures. One result of this thesis is two new Java Codes to compute the shape of fabric structures using the Grid method and Gaussian elimination. The code shapeAppjava has been written for fabric structures with fixed boundaries and the code, for fabric structures with edge cables.



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