Tension structures (more specifically cable network structures) are a novel form of construction, and one that has exciting architectural possibilities. This type of structure is particularly suitable for long span, column free roofing.
The design and analysis of cable structures has some unusual features, particularly in the case of cable nets. Firstly, the deflections are not usually negligible, and must be allowed for in the analysis. In the case of anticlastic cable nets, the structural performance of the net depends directly on its shape. Shapes which are satisfactory in other ways may be structurally inefficient, or too flexible to be usable, or not realizable due to their not being equilibrium shapes. Initial cable prestress is another variable not normally encountered in design of structures.
In this thesis, a detailed explanation of how to design tension structures is presented. Two computer programs are included. "Shape Finding Program" is a design program for finding equilibrium shapes of nets by displacing the support points of an initially flat cable net. "Cable Analysis Program" is a program for the detailed analysis of cable network structures, including the effects of slack cables and the non—linear stress-strain behaviour of cables.
Results of computer analyses are checked against theoretical and experimental results. An example of the preliminary design of a cable net structure is included.