Computational form-finding methods for fabric structures

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Lewis, W. J. (Wanda J.) (2008)

Form-finding is a process that determines the surface configuration of a fabric structure under prestress. This process can be carried out using a variety of numerical methods, of which the most common are (a) transient stiffness, (b) force density, and (c) dynamic relaxation. The paper describes the three methods, discusses their advantages and limitations, and provides insights into their applicability as numerical tools for the design of fabric structures. Further, it describes various approaches to surface discretisation, and discusses consequences of using ‘mesh control’ and elastic effects in the design of form-found surfaces. A brief discussion of the general recommendations given in the European design guide for tensile surfaces structures concludes the paper.
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