Tension structure of anticlastic membranes with barrel vaulted arches


Recently, the use of spatial structures in various applications such as building, airport and stadium roofs has significantly increased due to their excellent properties. Unfortunately, spatial structures are susceptible to failures that limit their structural performance. This has attracted the attention of researchers who are looking for new techniques for improving the properties of such materials for design optimization and improved efficiency.

Presently, three-dimensional spatial structures are generally grouped into three groups based on how they resist loads. They include tension, compression and reticulated structures. Due to their different mechanical and geometric properties, different structural analyses are used for structural analysis of the three structures. For example, finite element and finite difference methods are used for structural analysis of compression structures including shell structures while tension structures are analyzed using finite element methods. Reticulated structures, on the other hand, are analyzed based on the linear elastic theory. However, it is important to understand the structural behaviors of membrane structures as well as finding the design limitations. This will help in design optimization of anticlastic membranes supported at the beam edges.

In a recent research paper published in Journal of Structural Engineering, Professor Thomas Kang at Seoul National University in collaboration with Ms. Marta Gil Pérez (MSc) and Dr. Seongwon Hong (Post-doctoral researcher) developed design charts with a detailed guideline for the design of irregular anticlastic membranes. The membranes are supported by two asymmetric circular arches and two parallel non-equal beams. The authors further introduced irregularities for wider design possibilities. Eventually, they investigated significant finding during design development stages, therefore, developing case studies of irregular anticlastic membrane structures with asymmetry about the provided axes.

From the case study results, the authors observed the behavior of trapezoid-shaped panels defined by the opening angle, width, midspan and arch curvature. Consequently, regular panels with the same width as the midspan width in trapezoid panels exhibited similar limitations attributed to the fact that the maximum stress is achieved at the midspan. However, under downward loading conditions, the opening angle affects the structural behaviors while for the same arch curvature, stress increase is linearly proportional to the width. This further allowed calculation of the opening angle for any arch curvature and width at the midspan. In addition, the design chart provided the limitations for a different combination of the parameters for both trapezoid-shaped panels and inclined panels. The study successfully developed design aid charts for a variety of irregular anticlastic membranes. It uncovered various parameters that are important for the optimization and design of efficient membrane structures. For instance, it is realized that for all the panels, the maximum stress is reached across the transverse dimension in the midspan region regardless of the arch curvature. This is due to the dependence of the inclination angle to the width only. The limitations associated with the inclination angles could be easily identified from the chart. The study will, therefore, advance the design and use of spatial membrane structures in various fields.

Tension structure of anticlastic membranes with barrel vaulted arches - Advances in Engineering

Tension structure of anticlastic membranes with barrel vaulted arches - Advances in Engineering Tension structure of anticlastic membranes with barrel vaulted arches - Advances in Engineering Tension structure of anticlastic membranes with barrel vaulted arches - Advances in Engineering

About the author

Dr. Thomas Kang is a Professor in the Department of Architecture & Architectural Engineering and Director for Engineering Education Innovation Center at Seoul National University, Korea. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA. He has held various affiliated positions in the U.S. and Japan, including Adjunct Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Lecturer at UCLA, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Tokyo. Prof. Kang received his PhD from UCLA, his MS from Michigan State University, and his BS from Seoul National University.

Prof. Kang is a Fellow of Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) and a Fellow of American Concrete Institute (ACI). Prof. Kang received the Kenneth B. Bondy Award for Most Meritorious Technical Paper as Lead Author from PTI in 2012, and the Wason Medal for Most Meritorious Paper as Lead Author from ACI in 2009 with the subject of post-tensioned concrete. He regularly teaches the course of Post-Tensioned Concrete Structures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign every other summer (both on campus and online) and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa every fall (live online lectures). Prof. Kang is an Editor-in-Chief for three journals: International Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials, Journal of Structural Integrity and Maintenance, and Advances in Computational Design; and Associate Editor for PTI Journal of Post-Tensioning Institute. He is one of the founding and voting members of PTI DC-20 Committee, Building Design, and has been a voting member for ACI Committee 369, Seismic Repair and Rehabilitation; Joint ACI-ASCE Committees 335, Composite and Hybrid Structures, 352 Joints and Connections in Monolithic Concrete Structures, and Joint ACI-ASCE Committee 423, Prestressed Concrete; and Joint ACI-ASME Committee 359, Concrete Containments for Nuclear Reactors.

Prof. Kang published more than a hundred international journal papers and more than a hundred international conference proceedings, including 30 in ACI Structural Journal and 10 in PTI Journal. He has chaired many sessions/symposiums of structural engineering; delivered many keynote/invited speeches; and organized international conferences/workshops as a Chair. Additionally, Dr. Kang has done a lot of practice as a consulting engineer in Korea and the U.S. Prior to joining the academia, he had a working experience in California, USA (e.g., John A. Martin & Associates), and was a licensed Professor Engineer (PE) in California.

He is currently working with Precision-Hayes International, a globally leading company in the field of post-tensioning, for the development of new-to-market “smart” stressing devices as a technology & patent holder and consultant.

About the author

Marta Gil Pérez obtained a Master in architecture at ETSAM, University Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) on 2013. Afterwards, she was granted with a full scholarship to study in Seoul National University (South Korea), where she got hold of her master in Science in Structural Engineering. During the two years program, her research was focused on nonlinear analysis and design of tensile structures. Once she graduated, she joined a design team at the engineering firm C.S. Structural Engineering in South Korea, participating in the structural design of projects in both South Korea and the Middle East. In 2017 she joined the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) where she is currently a research associate and part of the teaching team of the International Master Program ITECH (Integrated Technologies & Architectural Design Research).

Her current research focuses on the structural design and development of robotically fabricated lightweight fibre composite structures. She is also part of the design team for the BUGA fibre pavilion that will be built in the prestigious National Garden Show in Heilbronn (Germany) which will be inaugurated in April of 2019. 

About the author

Seongwon Hong is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Safety Engineering at Korea National University of Transportation, Chungbuk, Korea. He received his BS (Civil Engineering) from Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea; his MS (Geomechanics) from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA; and his PhD (Damage-Healing Mechanics) from the University of California at Los Angeles, CA, USA. Afterwards, he joined Professor Kang’s research group (Hi-performance Structural Engineering Laboratory) at Seoul National University as a post-doctoral scholar in 2014, and mainly conducted the following research topics: linear and nonlinear analysis of tensile structures and mechanical properties of construction materials subject to extreme loads.

In addition to the research area above mentioned, he has expanded his research fields including the analysis of heterogeneous composites such as concrete, asphalt, and soil based mechanics. 


Hong, S., Pérez, M. G., & Kang, T. H.-K. (2018). Case Studies of Irregular Anticlastic Membrane Structures with AsymmetryJournal of Structural Engineering144(8), 05018001.

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