Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1999

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

Edward G. Dauenheimer


Fabric structures are designed in an iterative process between architect and engineer, analysis input and output, and detail and patterning. There are three main steps in designing a fabric structure: shape finding, loading, and patterning/ detailing.

Shapefinding consists of finding the shape of the fabric where the fabric forces are in equilibrium. This type of structure is geometrically nonlinear which require iterative analysis to converge on a unique solution.

The loading of the structure is similar to that of any conventional structures. The departure is in the major effects that suction and ponding have on fabric surfaces.

Usually the details of a fabric structure are left exposed as an architectural element. The construction of the actual fabric requires the patterning of the fabric strips, that are heat welded or clamped together to form the shape of the structure. This initial "skin" can then be prestress to counteract the forces that it is subjected to.



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