Shape Options for Tensile Fabric Structures

Empty tent shelter

There are different options for shelter nowadays. One of the most flexible and inexpensive options nowadays is a fabric shelter. This is a shelter comprising metal frames that are covered using a fabric membrane under tension. The frames are generally made from galvanised steel or aluminium. The fabric, on the other hand, can be polyethene, polyvinyl chloride, fibreglass, cotton canvas, or vinyl-coated or laminated polyester coated with various protective films.

Tensile fabric structures have quick installation, low maintenance, and flexible designs. They are also lightweight and energy-efficient, and they require minimal materials for building. The structures were generally used for construction and mining sites, on-site storage, and recreational activities in the past. Nowadays, tensile structures are also used for the provision of permanent shade solutions. Among the elements that will affect the functionality and look of your fabric structure is its shape. The following are the available types of tensile fabric structures based on their shape:

Conical Structure

This is a highly effective structure used to cover large areas. The shape is tent-like, and either features multiple or single masts. In both types of masts, the fabric is held in place with a ring in the pinnacle and support columns along the structure’s lower perimeter. Conical tension structures are your best choice in regions with high snow loads or rainfall since they are strong enough to withstand these weather conditions.

Anticlastic Structures

These are among the most common ones in the fabric structure market owing to their high aesthetic value. Anticlastic tensile structures have a hyperbolic paraboloid shape. This shape promotes water runoff and the shape retention of your structure. There are two structures with opposite curvatures used for the installation of these tensile structures. These are called anticlastic structures that are responsible for the strength of the fabric shelter. Shelters with a hyperbolic paraboloid shape are usually used in high-traffic walkways and over seating areas.

Barrel Vault or Parallel Arch Structures

Empty shelter

These structures feature a parallel-arched symmetrical curved design resulting in a functional tensioned fabric, which can span different lengths. A barrel vault shape is a cost-efficient option for fabric shelters that will span a vast expanse like a football field. This is because of the shape’s repetitive nature and its material efficacy.

Cable Membrane and Net Structures

These are generally used in roofing application for large spaces such as stadiums and public event venues. They feature cable grid structures or 3-D cable nets that are lightweight and will not weigh down on the structural frames used for their installation. Moreover, the fabric is tweaked in various ways to accommodate the right amount of sunshine into the shaded area and allow a gentle breeze.

Although most of the shapes mentioned above generally refer to the roof’s shape, the fabric structures come with sides to accommodate everyone’s needs. You can opt to attach the sides of your shelter during the night or in harsh weather conditions. Using a fabric structure does not also mean less security for the property you store inside it. There is now a range of security systems suited for use with fabric structures. All in all, they offer the same benefits of traditional buildings at a minimal cost.