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A Linear Strain, Curvature-Driven Triangular Element for the Analysis of Membrane Structures

P.D.Gosling1, L. Zhang1

Newcastle University, School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Drummond Building, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2012, 83(2), 97-142.


The analysis of membrane structures is made complex by the essentially anti-clastic geometry and flexibility introducing significant geometric non-linearities. With the increasing application of these structures in high-profile projects, the introduction of new materials in the form of ETFE foil, for example, and the impending requirements of a membrane structures-specific Eurocode, the need for high quality analysis capabilities is paramount. Existing formulations lag behind shell element counterparts and are based on a range of principles, from discrete to continua, and uniaxial to plane stress constitutive laws. In this paper, we present a linear strain triangular element for the efficient and accurate analysis of membrane structures. The triangular geometry of the element meets typical patterning needs, whilst the novel inclusion of curvature means that each element closely matches the characteristics of the local surface of the membrane efficiently. This is achieved without the introduction of rotational degrees-of-freedom, therefore negating bending stiffnesses that may compromise the quality of the simulation. The element is also shown to work well in predicting the onset and development of wrinkling.


Cite This Article

, P., Zhang, L. (2012). A Linear Strain, Curvature-Driven Triangular Element for the Analysis of Membrane Structures. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 83(2), 97–142.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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