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Model for non linear biaxial tensile behaviour

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Composite Structures

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/compstruct

of PVC-coated polyester fabrics for use in nite element analysis

C. Galliot *, R.H. Luchsinger

EMPA Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, Center for Synergetic Structures, Ueberlandstrasse 129, CH-8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Available online 14 April 2009

Keywords:

PVC-polyester fabric

Biaxial tensile tests

Finite element analysis

Non-linear material model

a b s t r a c t

A simple model based on experimental observations of the yarn-parallel biaxial extension of PVC-coated

polyester fabric cruciform specimens is proposed. In situ loading conditions are considered. The material

behaviour is assumed to be plane stress orthotropic for a particular load ratio, while the elastic properties

can vary with the load ratio in order to represent the complex interaction between warp and ll yarns. A

linear relationship is experimentally found between elastic moduli and normalized load ratios for a wide

range of PVC-coated polyester (Type I to Type IV). Two new parameters corresponding to the moduli variations are introduced to complement the existing plane stress orthotropic model. Theoretical results

show that only ve biaxial tests are required to accurately describe the material response with the proposed material model. Finally, the model was integrated in a commercial nite element software. It is

shown that the proposed material model signicantly increases the accuracy of the nite element predictions compared to the standard orthotropic linear material model with almost identical computation

times.

2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Coated fabrics are widely used in structural engineering for

fabric or inated structures. New developments as the recently

introduced Tensairity-technology broaden the spectrum of

applications of fabrics in civil engineering. Tensairity combines

inated structures with cables and struts leading to a tremendous

increase of the load bearing behaviour of inated beams [1,2]. First

permanent applications of this new class of fabric structure are a

roof for a parking garage or a skier-bridge with over 50 m span,

while the technology has also an enormous potential for temporary

structures such as shelters, tents or bridges. Among the fabrics

used in civil engineering, PVC-coated polyester is the most popular

material mainly due to its favourable price. Furthermore, PVCcoated polyester fabrics can easily be folded and unfolded which

is an important aspect for temporary structures.

The design and analysis of fabric structures relies on numerical

calculations. Different approaches based on the force density

method, nite element method or discrete element method have

been developed during the last years. A common feature of all

numerical methods is that the accuracy of their predictions relies

on the accuracy of the material models. Fabrics are non-isotropic

and non-linear materials. Nevertheless, often only very simple

E-mail address: cedric.galliot@empa.ch (C. Galliot).

0263-8223/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.compstruct.2009.04.016

elaborated numerical calculations. One reason for this unbalance is

that the existing non-linear material models for coated fabrics are

too involved and therefore too demanding regarding computation

time. Thus, they cannot be efciently used in the numerical treatment of complete fabric structures.

Among these elaborated fabric models are micro-mechanical

models [3,4]. In these approaches the fabric behaviour is derived

from a model of its microstructure. Such methods have already

been successfully applied to the modelling of woven fabric composites [57]. They emphasize the great inuence of local weave

geometry as well as local mechanisms on the global material

behaviour. For coated woven fabric, a micromechanical observation of the deformation of the yarns and the coating emphasizes

the following mechanisms:

crimp interchange, that represents the interaction between the

warp and ll yarns;

yarns and coating extension;

friction between the warp and ll yarns.

Generally, the micromechanical model is limited to a unit cell,

which should be therefore representative of the complete fabric

structure. Based on such a mechanical unit cell, Pargana et al. [3]

developed a material model and implemented it in a nite element

software. They calibrated it against experimental test data for a

specimen made of PTFE coated glass bre. The model consisted

439

in fteen parameters, fourteen of these representing the yarn-parallel behaviour and one the shear behaviour. The model was found

to faithfully represent the mechanical response of the fabric. However, its complexity led to large computation times, and the large

number of required parameters did not make it easy to use. Cavallaro et al. [4] also used the unit cell method to study the behaviour

of fabric in the case of inated beams. They showed that the material did not behave like an orthotropic material but rather like a

heterogeneous material, whose properties depended on the weave

geometry, on the contact areas of interacting tows and in this particular case also on the internal pressure of the beam. Nevertheless,

they mentioned that performing an analysis on a complete airbeam structure was computationally impossible.

The other approach is to describe the fabric behaviour directly

from experimentally determined stressstrain relationships [8

13]. In this case, a plane stress orthotropic model is generally chosen. In the simplest approach, the compliance matrix is tted to the

experimental data to obtain the material constants. While this is a

numerical efcient material model, the non-linear behaviour of the

fabric is obviously not treated in this approach. The use of three

dimensional stressstressstrain representations is a simple approach to determine the plane stress elastic properties as described

by Gosling [8]. Warp and ll strains are both represented as a function of the stresses. Then, a best plane t is used to nd the terms

of the compliance matrix and thus the elastic properties. The main

disadvantage of this procedure is that one gets four independent

parameters, i.e. two Youngs moduli and two Poissons ratios. It is

possible to force the compliance matrix to be symmetrical by averaging the interaction terms. However, this results in a loss of accuracy. Gosling [8] argued that having two independent Poissons

ratios could be admitted since the material is not homogeneous.

This model gave a good correlation with experiments performed

on different types of PTFE-glass and PVC-polyester fabrics but the

physical meaning of such an asymmetric stiffness matrix is an

open issue.

Bgner and Blum [9,10] also described a simple method to estimate the elastic moduli of coated fabrics based on plane stress

orthotropic assumptions. With the use of a special load history

where warp and ll directions are loaded separately, they calculated the elastic constants on the test interval for a particular load

ratio (the method will be presented in more detail in Section 3).

This method can also be repeated for every part of the load history

in order to obtain the variation of the elastic moduli over the range

of loading. A similar multi-linear method was proposed by Minami

[11]. The biaxial tensile behaviour of a PTFE-glass fabric was represented with three dimensional stress-stress-strain curves. The

material response surface formed by these curves was then divided

into several quadrilaterals. In each quadrilateral a plane stress linear orthotropic material model was assumed, from which the elastic constants could be calculated. Both methods can be particularly

interesting in the case of non-linear behaviour, but their main disadvantages are the high amount of required experimental data and

computation times.

The most recent methods attempting to describe the coated fabric behaviour are based on response surfaces, which directly link

the measured strains to the applied stresses through three dimensional representations. In order to build such response surfaces,

Bridgens and Gosling [12,13] developed a new testing protocol

with three parts: the specimen was rst pre-stressed for several

hours, then conditioned in order to remove most of the residual

strains and nally tested. A specic load regime explored several

load cases so that the entire response of the fabric was tested.

The experimental results were plotted with stressstressstrain

representations. From these data, response surfaces were tted

using different methods. The correlation between the model and

the experiments was very good. However, to be accurate, these

models also require a large quantity of test data and their use in

a nite element analysis is difcult and presumably very time

consuming.

The objective of this article is to propose a simple non-linear

material model describing the biaxial tensile behaviour of PVCcoated polyester fabrics for an efcient use in nite element analysis. Thus only a typical loading of an in situ fabric structure, i.e.

from pre-stress up to maximum design stress, is here considered.

The material is assumed to be linear elastic orthotropic under a

particular load ratio. However, the elastic properties can vary along

with the load ratio in order to model the complex interaction between warp and ll yarns.

In the rst part of the paper a relationship between the elastic

properties of the fabric and the load ratios based on experimental

results of the biaxial extension of cruciform specimens is elaborated. After validation, the accuracy of the proposed non-linear

material model is compared with two simple linear models. Then,

the proposed model is integrated in the commercial nite element

software ANSYS, and the predictions and performance are compared to the standard linear orthotropic material model. Finally,

a new test protocol for PVC-coated polyester fabrics is presented

and conclusions are drawn in the last section.

2. Experimental procedure

Cruciform specimens of PVC-polyester fabric were tested on a

biaxial test machine [14]. Seven different materials were selected,

representing a wide range of mechanical behaviour (polyester Type

I to Type IV). Their main properties are listed in Table 1. Corresponding weave patterns of the selected fabrics are shown in Fig. 1.

The test setup is presented in Fig. 2. The central square of the

specimens was 500 mm wide. In each cruciform arm four slits

were made leading to ve strips. Each strip was loaded independently by an electromechanical drive mounted on linear bearings

allowing free movement of the drive transverse to the loading

direction. Tests were load-controlled by the use of 10 kN load cells

xed between every pair of drive and grip. Strains were measured

Table 1

Specications of different PVC-coated polyester fabrics.

Sample code

Manufacturer/reference

V700

V900

V1000

V1400

F702

F1002

B1617

Mehler Texnologies Valmex

Mehler Texnologies Valmex

Mehler Texnologies Valmex

Ferrari Prcontraint 702

Ferrari Prcontraint 1002

Verseidag Indutex B1617

FR700

FR900

FR1000

FR1400

Polyester type

Weave pattern

Yarn (dtex)

Weight

(g/m2)

Thickness

(mm)

Warp/Fill tensile

strength (N/50 mm)

Type

Type

Type

Type

Type

Type

Type

Plain

2-2 Basket

2-2 Basket

3-3 Basket

Plain

2-2 Basket

2-2 Basket

1100

1100

1670

1670

1100

1100

1100

850

900

1050

1350

750

1050

900

0.6

0.75

0.9

1.15

0.6

0.8

0.75

3000/3000

4200/4000

6000/5500

7500/6500

3000/2800

4200/4000

4400/3900

I

II

III

IV

I

II

II

440

Fig. 3. Finite element calculation of the stress distribution in the centre of the

cruciform test specimen.

direction and bolted on the test specimen using small diameter

screws. Chen et al. [15] showed that small holes in the specimen

do not introduce any unacceptable errors.

The applied stress in the warp and ll direction was deduced

from the load cells. However, the stress in the fabric at the location

of the extensometer is smaller than the applied stress at the ends

of the strips as some of the stress is distributed to the transverse

arms of the specimen. This is shown in Fig. 3, where nite element

predictions of the stress distribution along a line through the centre of the specimen (dotted line) are compared to the applied stress

at the ends of the strips (solid line). Using a wide range of material

properties and loads, an average stress reduction factor of 0.985 for

the central region of the specimen was determined. This value is

close to the stress reduction factor presented by Bridgens and Gosling [12].

Specimens were rst loaded at pre-stress and then from prestress up to maximum test stress. Various load ratios were used.

Strains were set to be equal to zero at pre-stress. The maximum

test stress was set to one fth of the tensile strength in order to

avoid tearing of the fabric. One fth of the tensile strength also corresponds to a typical maximum design stress in fabric structures

[16]. The pre-stress was set to one fth of the maximum test stress.

For every load ratio, the loading/unloading cycle was repeated ve

times in order to remove the residual strains. Only the last load cycle was used to determine the material properties. The loading

time was set to 360 s for every cycle and every specimen. The loading velocity varied between 2 and 50 (N/m)/s depending on the

material and load ratio. The biaxial testing machine was installed

in a climatic room ensuring a constant temperature of 23 C and

a constant humidity level of 50%.

3. Preliminary experimental investigations

A convenient method to estimate the elastic moduli for a particular load conguration was presented by Bgner and Blum [9,10].

This method is used to study the inuence of different load ratios

on the elastic properties of the fabric.

For a plane stress orthotropic fabric, the yarn-parallel behaviour

is described by

ew

Ew

4 mwf

ef

Ew

mfw

Ef

1

Ef

3

5

rw

rf

1

mwf

Ew

mfw

Ef

strain tensors. Subscripts w and f represent the fabric principal

directions with w for warp and f for ll direction. Stress values

and values of elastic moduli are given per length [kN/m] and not

per area. This is a common practise when working with fabric

materials as the thickness of these materials is not well dened.

The strainstress relationship is linear for a constant compliance matrix and increments of strains can be calculated from the

increments of applied stresses by

mfw

1

Drw

Dr f

Ew

Ef

mwf

1

Dr w Dr f

Ef

Ew

Dew

Def

The load history and the corresponding load path used to obtain the

elastic properties for a 2:1 load ratio are presented in Fig. 4. First,

the load was only changed in the warp direction (Drf = 0) and Ew

and mwf were calculated from Def and Dew by means of Eqs. (3)

and (4). Then, in a second test, only the ll direction was loaded

(Drw = 0) and Ef and mfw were obtained. Since the Poissons ratios

mwf and mfw are not independent (Eq. (2)), ratios mwf/Ew and mfw/Ef

were averaged to determine the effective Poissons ratio.

This method was applied to a PVC-polyester sample V700 (Table. 1) for ve different load ratios (5:1, 2:1, 1:1, 1:2 and 1:5) in order to study the dependency of the elastic properties of the fabric

on the applied loads. The denition of the load ratio is of common

Fig. 4. (a) Load path and (b) load history used for a 2:1 load ratio.

441

use and denotes the ratio of the warp stress to the ll stress. Different expressions can be taken to represent the applied loads. We

use the normalized load ratios in warp and ll direction dened as

rw

cw q

r2w r2f

rf

cf q

r2w r2f

5

6

Material properties obtained from the experiments are presented in Fig. 5, where Ew and mwf are plotted as a function of cw

and Ef is plotted as a function of cf. Results show that the Youngs

moduli signicantly change with the normalized load ratios. A

higher load ratio in one direction results in a higher modulus in

that direction and a lower modulus in the orthogonal direction.

This strong interaction between warp and ll yarns is due to crimp

interchange. The yarn waviness depends on the weave geometry

(Fig. 1) as well as on the load ratio. Locally, at yarn crossing, the

contact forces balance the loads that are applied in the bre directions. As a result, increasing the load in one direction straightens

the yarns in that direction while it increases the waviness of the

orthogonal yarns. Moreover, it has been proven that yarn waviness

has a direct inuence on the in-plane moduli of woven fabric composites [17]. Such materials become stiffer, as the yarn waviness

decreases. This is why the highest value of Ew is observed for a

5:1 ratio, and the highest value of Ef for a 1:5 ratio. Fig. 5 also

shows that the Youngs modulus is higher in the warp direction.

This is a common observation with coated fabrics, because warp bres are pre-tensioned during the material manufacturing process,

resulting in a much lower initial waviness of these bres compared

to the ll bres.

Fig. 5. Inuence of the normalized load ratios on the elastic constants (V700

specimen).

442

are almost linear functions of the normalized load ratios while the

Poissons ratio is rather independent of the load ratio. A similar

conclusion can be drawn for other tested PVC-coated polyester fabrics (from Type I to Type IV).

4. Proposed material model

A simple material model for PVC-polyester fabrics can be developed based on the ndings of the previous section. The model has

three main assumptions:

1. The material behaviour is linear elastic, plane stress orthotropic

for a given load ratio:

"

Dew

Def

2

6

4

1

Ew cw

mwf

Ew cw

mwf

Ew cw

1

Ef cf

in Fig. 6b for three load ratios. After testing, the model parameters

were calculated for all test specimens using the experimental

strains and the least square t procedure (Eq. (10)). A similar approach, however, based on the tting of Youngs moduli instead

of strains, is described in the Appendix.

"

#

7 Dr w

5

Dr f

function of the normalized load ratios cw and cf:

1

Ew cw DEw cw p E1:1

w

2

1

Ef cf DEf cf p E1:1

f

2

8

9

ratios.

with those of two other linear material models:

a standard plane stress orthotropic linear material model with

three parameters, called thereafter orthotropic S, because of its

symmetrical stiffness matrix;

an orthotropic linear material model with four parameters (two

independent Poissons ratios) as presented by Gosling [8], called

thereafter orthotropic NS because of its non symmetric stiffness

matrix.

For all three models, the elastic constants were obtained once

using the data of all thirteen load ratios and once using the data

of only ve load ratios (5:1, 2:1, 1:1, 1:2 and 1:5) in the least

square t. The resulting material properties for the two linear

models based on a t with all thirteen load ratios are presented

in Table 2. The corresponding material properties for the proposed non-linear model for a t based on ve load ratios are

given in Table 3.

The model accuracy was assessed by estimating the difference

between measured and predicted strains for all data points. The

root mean square (RMS) of the strain difference is presented as a

1:1

are the refThe material model has ve parameters: E1:1

w and Ef

erence

and

ll

Youngs

moduli

given

for

the

1:1 load

values ofpwarp

and ll Youngs moduli on the whole range of load ratios

(0 6 cw,f 6 1), and mwf is the in-plane Poissons ratio.

The model parameters were obtained by a least square t minimizing the deviation of experimental and modelled strains. The

modelled strains are calculated by means of Eqs. (7)(9) for all applied stresses and load ratios. The material stresses are equal to the

measured applied stresses multiplied by the stress reduction factor. The least square t is dened as

minW min

m X

n h

X

1:1

exp

emod

wkl Ew ; DEw ; mwf ewkl

k1 l1

h

i2

1:1

1:1

exp

emod

fkl Ew ; Ef ; DEw ; DEf ; mwf efkl

i2

!

10

with m the number of tested load ratios and n the total number of

data points measured for each load ratio. A numerical solver was

used to obtain the minimum. The initial value for the Poissons ratio

was set to zero and initial values of the moduli E1:1

w;f and DEw,f were

set to 1 (to avoid division by zero). All parameters were also

constrained to remain positive and the Poissons ratio was restricted to be less than 0.5. Seven PVC-polyester fabrics from Type

I to Type IV were tested under biaxial tension with varying load

ratios (Table 1).

To investigate the material behaviour, various load ratios were

selected so that the fabric response was explored as much as possible including the uniaxial behaviour. Thirteen load ratios were

measured, namely 1:0, 11:1, 5:1, 3:1, 2:1, 7:5, 1:1, 5:7, 1:2, 1:3,

1:5, 1:11, 0:1. The corresponding load path is shown in Fig. 6a in

Fig. 6. (a) Load path and (b) part of the load history (load ratios 5:1, 3:1 and 2:1)

used for each specimen.

443

Table 2

Estimated parameters based on 13 different load ratio measurements for S and NS orthotropic linear material models.

Sample code

Orthotropic NS

V700

V900

V1000

V1400

F702

F1002

B1617

Orthotropic S

Ew (kN/m)

Ef (kN/m)

mwf

mfw

Ew (kN/m)

Ef (kN/m)

mwf

657.6

922.4

1304.3

1488.7

654.5

884.3

927.8

561.3

815.7

1124.3

1304.1

673.0

1044.3

889.5

0.031

0.038

0.022

0.000

0.213

0.165

0.050

0.433

0.341

0.345

0.376

0.245

0.340

0.410

764.2

1027.3

1468.0

1714.2

660.5

917.5

1042.2

501.6

748.2

1025.8

1169.3

666.7

1001.5

804.1

0.313

0.236

0.238

0.238

0.228

0.235

0.268

how important this difference is compared to the material response. The maximum absolute strain difference is presented as

a strain value in %. Presenting the maximum relative difference

Table 3

Estimated parameters for the proposed non-linear material model determined from 5

different load ratio measurements.

Sample code

E1:1

w (kN/m)

E1:1

(kN/m)

f

DEw (kN/m)

DEf (kN/m)

mwf

V700

V900

V1000

V1400

F702

F1002

B1617

653.2

882.0

1200.0

1374.1

635.3

830.2

865.8

444.5

679.6

881.7

1003.4

661.9

976.0

707.5

521.2

803.8

941.2

1204.7

295.0

766.7

662.9

403.7

437.6

782.5

981.7

168.5

123.9

662.5

0.327

0.263

0.318

0.314

0.196

0.213

0.308

easily greater than 100% but without signicant effect on the results. The maximum absolute strain difference is generally obtained at the maximum stresses and is thus much more critical

in the structural design. RMS and maxima for all tested materials

are shown in Fig. 7. Results for all three material models and for

13 and 5 load ratios are given. The RMS of the strain difference is

quite constant for the proposed model with an average deviation

of about 2.5% of the strain test range. This is more than twice less

than with a standard orthotropic S material. In this case, the RMS is

close to 67% of the strain test range, except for the Ferrari specimens. The Ferrari fabrics have a special manufacturing process

where the fabric is pre-stressed during the coating. As a result

the material is less sensitive to crimp interchange and its behaviour is more similar to a standard linear orthotropic material. The

performance of the standard orthotropic material can be improved

by the use of two independent Poissons ratios (orthotropic NS).

However, the RMS of the strain difference is still about twice as

much as the difference observed with the proposed model. The

same observations can be made for the maximum strain difference.

For both S and NS orthotropic models, there is a large difference

when 13 or 5 load ratios are considered in the t. The maximum

strain difference is particularly affected which can be reduced by

up to 25% when all 13 load ratios are used in the least square t

instead of only 5. On the contrary, the elastic properties of the proposed material model do not signicantly change when only 5 of

13 load ratio data are used. This conrms the assumed linear

dependency of the elastic properties from the normalized load ratios for all fabrics considered.

The importance of having a non-linear model can also be shown

using three dimensional stressstressstrain representations

(Fig. 8). Surfaces representing the values predicted by this model

are superimposed with experimental data from the different load

ratios (dots). It clearly appears that the experimental curves do

not lie all on a plane and thus linear models have limited capabilities. For the proposed non-linear model, a curved surface enables a

better representation of the experimental material characteristics.

6. Finite element analysis

The main goal of this study is to nd a simple non-linear material model for PVC-coated polyester fabrics for use in nite element

analysis. The material model should be accurate and computationally fast. To demonstrate the power of the new material model it

was integrated in the commercially available nite element software ANSYS.

6.1. Usermat

Fig. 7. RMS and maxima of the strain difference between experiments and

predictions due to the models.

usermat. These routines are programmed in Fortran and can be

used in any ANSYS analysis procedure after recompilation. The

usermat is called at every time step and at every integration point.

444

Fig. 8. Stressstressstrain representation of experimental data and model prediction (V700 specimen).

ANSYS passes the stresses rti , strains etj and the strain increment

Detj into the usermat for each time step. The usermat then updates

Dt

. The routine must also provide

the stresses in order to obtain rt

i

the stiffness matrix for the current time increment.

The procedure is described in Fig. 9 for the proposed non-linear

material model. Two conditions were applied. First, the Youngs

moduli are chosen to be equal to the moduli for a 1:1 load ratio

for the initial time step as the initial stresses are both equal to zero

and thus the load ratio not dened. Second, the absolute values of

the stresses are taken in order to ensure that the normalized load

ratios are between zero and one.

6.2. Modelling and results

A non-linear static analysis was performed. The biaxial specimen, as shown in Fig. 10, was modelled in 2D with 6432 four nodes

shell elements (Shell 181). The load was applied separately on each

strip. The strip connections to the grips could move transversely to

the loading direction to reproduce the experimental set up of the

biaxial test rig. All 13 experimentally investigated loading paths

were calculated.

The proposed model was compared to the linear orthotropic S

material model. The model parameters given in Tables 2 and 3

have been used. The stressstrain diagrams for the V700 specimen

(experiments, proposed model and orthotropic S material) are

between the proposed model and the standard orthotropic S material for the 1:1 load ratio. However, the difference between the two

models becomes signicant in the other load cases especially for

the predictions in the less loaded direction. For example, good

agreement with experimental data is found for the stressstrain

relation in ll direction with the proposed model for the 5:1 load

ratio, while the orthotropic S material predicts even negative strain

values. The overall agreement of the proposed non-linear model is

very good while the orthotropic S material model shows clearly

some deciencies.

The RMS of the strain difference and the maximal absolute

strain difference between nite element results and the experiments are presented in Fig. 12. The results are very similar to

those obtained in Fig. 7. The proposed non-linear material model

gives with only ve different load ratios in the biaxial tensile

tests very satisfying results compared to the standard orthotropic S material, where 13 different measured load ratios have

been used. The average accuracy is by more than a factor two

better for the proposed material model for all tested fabrics.

The exceptions are again the Ferrari fabrics due to their different

manufacturing process as explained before. Similar improvements are found for the maximum absolute strain difference. It

should also be emphasized that the improvement of the proposed non-linear material model does not cause a signicant increase in time required for the nite element analysis. The

computation time was found to increase by less than 3% compared to the standard linear orthotropic S material model for

these calculations.

7. Conclusion

A simple non-linear material model to describe the yarn-parallel behaviour of PVC-coated polyester fabrics under biaxial tension

has been proposed. The model is based on a standard plane stress

orthotropic material model with a constant Poissons ratio but with

Youngs moduli that are linear functions of the normalized load ratios. The material response can be accurately described with ve

445

set to one fth of the maximal test stress. Loading time is

Fig. 10. Deformed nite element mesh (magnitude 4) of the cruciform V700

specimen: 1:1 load ratio, tensile load 12 kN/m.

parameters, namely the warp and ll Youngs moduli for a 1:1 load

ratio, the change in warp and ll Youngs moduli and the Poissons

ratio. Only ve different load ratios have to be measured in order to

obtain reliable parameters.

Based on these results, we propose the following procedure for

PVC-coated polyester fabrics to estimate the material mechanical

properties:

1. A cruciform test specimen as presented in Fig. 2 is cut out of a

roll of fabric so that the load directions will be parallel to the

yarn directions.

2. The specimen is loaded on a biaxial test machine from prestress up to maximal test stress with ve load ratios: 5:1,

2:1, 1:1, 1:2 and 1:5. Maximal test stress is set to one fth

Fig. 12. RMS and maxima of the strain difference between experimental strains and

nite element predictions.

Fig. 11. Stressstrain relation for the experimental data and nite element predictions for ve different load ratios (V700 specimen).

446

have a low loading velocity (maximum of 50 (N/m)/s in this

study).

3. For each load ratio ve cycles of loading and unloading are performed in order to remove the residual strains. To determine

the elastic properties of the material only the data of the last

loading cycle are used.

4. Strains are measured in both warp and ll directions with needle extensometers. Strains are reset to zero at pre-stress level.

Stresses are measured on each strip with a load cell. Experimental stresses in the material are obtained by multiplying the

applied stress by the stress reduction factor (equal to 0.985 in

this study).

5. The ve material model parameters (Eqs. (7)(9)) are determined from the experimental data by means of a least square

t (Eq. (10)).

The non-linear material model can be easily integrated in standard nite element codes. The accuracy compared to standard linear orthotropic models can be signicantly increased with almost

identical computation times. The Poissons ratio of the proposed

material model lies between 0 and 0.5 enabling a physically consistent interpretation of all the model parameters. Due to its simplicity and efciency, the deciencies of so far existing non-linear

material models for fabrics have been overcome. Thus, the proposed material model is very interesting for the calculation of complex and large PVC-coated polyester fabric structures. Future

perspectives are to include shear properties in the model in order

to predict the material behaviour for off-axis loading.

Table 4

Variation in stress and strain given by the experimental data of the last load cycle as

shown in Fig. 9 (V700 specimen).

Load ratio

Drw (kN/m)

Drf (kN/m)

Dew (%)

Def (%)

5:1

2:1

1:1

1:2

1:5

9.6

9.6

9.6

4.8

1.92

1.92

4.8

9.6

9.6

9.6

1.17

1.12

1.17

0.23

0.41

0.42

0.92

1.65

1.75

1.7

Fig. 13. Experimentally obtained Youngs moduli from ve load ratios and tted

moduli of the proposed material model (V700 specimen).

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank HP Gasser Membranbau for

providing the material samples. The nancial support of Festo is

gratefully acknowledged.

Appendix.

The parameters of the proposed model were obtained by minimizing the difference between modelled and experimental strains.

A different approach is to obtain these parameters by minimizing

the difference between modelled and experimentally determined

elastic moduli. This simpler method is especially useful, when only

plots of measured stressstrain curves are available as it may happen when biaxial test results are supplied by an external laboratory. In such a case, the variation of stress between pre-stress

and maximal stress and the according variation in strain both in

warp and ll direction can still be read from the graphs with a reasonable accuracy, although the exact stressstrain relation is not

available. As an example, the maximal stress and strain variations

obtained from the curves presented in Fig. 11 are given in Table 4

(V700 specimen). From these values one can then estimate the

experimental elastic moduli in warp and ll direction for each load

ratio by means of

Dew

Drf

mwf

Def Eexp

Dr w

Eexp

w

11

Eexp

f

12

The estimated experimental elastic moduli depend on the Poissons ratio mwf which is not known a priori and is thus also a parameter which has to be optimized. The experimental elastic moduli

are compared with the moduli of the proposed material model

1:1

(Eqs. (8) and (9)) and the parameters E1:1

w ; Ef , DEw, DEf, and mwf

are obtained by the least square t

minW min

m

X

2

1:1

exp

mod

1:1

Emod

wk Ew ; DEw Ewk mwf Efk Ef ; DEf

k1

2

Eexp

fk wf

!

13

1:1

One obtains E1:1

407:6 kN=m, DEw = 412.8

w 605:9 kN=m; Ef

kN/m, DEf = 354.8 kN/m and mwf = 0.375 for the V700 specimen

which are close to the values given in Table 3. Experimental moduli

and the elastic moduli of the proposed material model are presented in Fig. 13 as a function of the normalized load ratios. It

can be seen again that the linear dependency of the Youngs moduli

on the normalized load ratio is a good approximation.

The RMS and the maximal absolute error between the predicted

strains of the proposed model and the experimental strains are calculated to estimate the accuracy of this approach based on minimizing Youngs moduli differences. The RMS is equal to 3.1% of

the strain test range and the maxima 0.28% in strain. With the t

procedure of Eq. (10), these values were equal to 2.3% and 0.21%,

respectively. The approach of Eq. (13) gives also very satisfying results, with an error which is still half of the error estimated with a

standard orthotropic linear material model.

References

[1] Luchsinger RH, Pedretti A, Steingruber P, Pedretti M. The new structural

concept Tensairity: basic principles. Progress in structural engineering,

mechanics and computations. London: A.A. Balkema Publishers; 2004.

[2] Luchsinger RH, Crettol R. Experimental and numerical study of spindle shaped

Tensairity girders. Int J Space Struct 2006;21(3):11930.

[3] Pargana JB, Lloyd-Smith D, Izzuddin BA. Advanced material model for

coated fabrics used in tensioned fabric structures. Eng Struct 2007;29:

132336.

[4] Cavallaro PV, Johnson ME, Sadegh AM. Mechanics of plain-woven fabrics for

inated structures. Compos Struct 2003;61:37593.

[5] Whitcomb J, Woo K. Enhanced direct stiffness method for nite element

analysis of textile composites. Compos Struct 1994;28:38590.

[6] Bigaud D, Hamelin P. Mechanical properties prediction of textile-reinforced

composite materials using a multiscale energetic approach. Composite

Structures 1997;38:36171.

[7] Xue P, Cao J, Chen J. Integrated micro/macro-mechanical model of

woven fabric composites under large deformation. Compos Struct

2005;70:6980.

[8] Gosling PD. Tensinet analysis and materials working group basic philosophy

and calling notice. Internet publication http://www.tensinet.com. Tensinews

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[9] Blum R, Bgner H, Nmoz G. Testing methods and standards. In: Forster B,

Mollaert M, editors. Tensinet European design guide for tensile surface

structures. Brussel: Tensinet; 2004. p. 293322.

[10] Bgner-Balz H, Blum R. The mechanical behaviour of coated fabrics used in

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analysis to be used in a FEM-model. J IASS 2008;49(1):3947.

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and deformation of coated plain-weave fabric. J Textile Eng 2006;52(5):18995.

[12] Bridgens BN, Gosling PD, Birchall MJS. Membrane material behaviour:

concepts, practise and developments. Struct Eng 2004;82(14):2833.

[13] Bridgens BN, Gosling PD. Direct stressstrain representation for coated woven

fabrics. Comput Struct 2004;82:191327.

[14] Blum R, Bgner H. A new class of biaxial machine. Internet publication http://

www.tensinet.com. Tensinews Newslett 2001;1:4.

[15] Chen S, Ding X, Fangueiro R, Yi H, Ni J. Tensile behaviour of PVC-coated woven

membrane materials under uni- and bi-axial loads. J Appl Polym Sci

2007;107:203844.

[16] Chen S, Ding X, Yi H. On the anisotropic tensile behaviors of exible polyvinyl

chloride-coated fabrics. Textile Res J 2007;77:36974.

[17] Whitcomb J, Tang X. Effective moduli of woven composites. J Compos Mater

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