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The roof of this industrial building is supported by a space frame structure. A space frame or space structure is a truss-like, lightweight rigid structure constructed from interlocking struts in a geometric pattern. Space frames can be used to span large areas with few interior supports. Like the truss, a space frame is strong because of the inherent rigidity of the triangle; flexing loads (bending moments) are transmitted as tension and compression loads along the length of each strut.
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1 Overview 2 History 3 Applications o 3.1 Construction o 3.2 Vehicles 4 Design methods 5 See also 6 External links
Simplified space frame roof with the half-octahedron highlighted in blue
In many ways this looks like the horizontal jib of a tower crane repeated many times to make it wider. (1989) . they are often found in large roof spans in modernist commercial and industrial buildings. Pei Rogers Centre by Rod Robbie and Michael Allan McCormick Place East in Chicago Eden Project in Cornwall. A stronger purer form is composed of interlocking tetrahedral pyramids in which all the struts have unit length. and the red bar is not present. and the bending rigidity of the blue node is negligible compared to the contributing rigidity of the red bar. Notable examples of buildings based on space frames include: y y y y y y Stansted airport in London. If the red bar is present.  History Space frames were independently developed by Alexander Graham Bell around 1900 and Buckminster Fuller in the 1950s. the system can be calculated using a rigidity matrix. Bell's interest was primarily in using them to make rigid frames for nautical and aeronautical engineering. Sweden .  Applications If a force is applied to the blue node. by Foster and Partners Bank of China Tower and the Louvre Pyramid. the behaviour of the structure depends completely on the bending rigidity of the blue node. by I. neglecting angular factors. M. Buckminster Fuller's focus was architectural structures.The simplest form of space frame is a horizontal slab of interlocking square pyramids built from aluminium or tubular steel struts. More complex variations change the lengths of the struts to curve the overall structure or may incorporate other geometrical shapes. Few of his designs were realised.  Construction Space frames are a common feature in modern construction. England Globen. his work had greater influence. More technically this is referred to as an isotropic vector matrix or in a single unit width an octet truss.Dome with diameter of 110 m.
Arizona Large portable stages and lighting gantries are also frequently built from space frames and octet trusses.y Biosphere 2 in Oracle. The idea and model was forwarded to the US Department of Transportation in Washington. British manufacturers TVR were particularly well known for their tube-frame chassis designs. Lamborghini Gallardo. C. He showed a staff person there how the octet truss was ideal for holding signs over roads. In February 1986.  See also y y y y y Platonic solids Body-on-frame Monocoque Backbone chassis Tensegrity  External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Space frames Information about space structures from the University of Surrey octet truss 3D animation y y . the angular deflections can be neglected. and body panels are attached to a skeletal space frame. S. Department of Transportation office in Fort Worth. Tube-frame chassis are frequently used in certain types of racing cars. engine. simplifying the calculations. the suspension. Kranz walked into the U. Ferrari 360. Today. Space frames have also been used in bicycles. the octet truss is the structure of choice for holding signs above roads in the United States. In a space-frame.  Vehicles Space frames are sometimes used in the chassis designs of automobiles and motorcycles. Lotus Seven.  Design methods Space frames are typically designed using a rigidity matrix. and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. D. in a monocoque design. and the body panels have little or no structural function. or tube-frame. with a model of an octet truss. produced since the 1950s. the body serves as part of the structure. Texas. Other notable examples of tube -frame cars include the Audi A8. such as those designed byAlex Moulton. Paul C. By contrast. The special characteristic of the stiffness matrix in an architectural space frame is the independence of the angular factors. chassis. If the joints are sufficiently rigid.
. The above definition is the 'formal' definition of a space structure. the combination of the configuration. or a combination of these. in practice. To elaborate. cable nets. external loads. However. the external loads as well as the internal forces are in a single plane. namely.http://www3. towers. fibre reinforced composites. Space structures cover an enormous range of shapes and are constructed using differentmaterials such as steel. timber. barrel vaults. concrete.ac. internal forces and displacements of the structure extends beyond a single plane. both in its initial unloaded state and in its deformed loaded state.uk/eng/research/ems/ssrc/intro. glass. In the case of a space structure. membrane systems. domes. This is in contrast with a 'plane structure'. aluminium. Space structures may be divided into three categories. that involves no more than two dimensions. This is the plane that also contains the (idealised) structure itself. such as a plane truss. in the case of a plane structure.surrey. the term 'space structure' is simply used to refer to a number of families of structures that include grids. foldable assemblies and tensegrity forms.htm What is a Space Structure ? Introduction Grids Double layer grids Biform grids Barrel vaults Domes Biform and continuous domes and barrel vaults References Introduction The term 'space structure' refers to a structural system that involves three dimensions.
normall elongated. The 'two-way' pattern. membranes. The external loading system for a flat grid consists of forces perpendicular to the plane of the grid and/or moments whose axes lie in the plane of the grid. transmission towers. Gri A 'grid' is a structural system involving one or more planar layers of elements . Figs 1c to 1f show some basic three-way and four-way grid patterns. 1. A 'single layer grid'. It consists of two sets of interconnected beams that run parallel to the boundary lines. consists of a planar arrangement of rigidly connected beam elements. 2b is obtained from a four-way pattern by removal of a number of beam lines as indicated in Fig. shown in Fig. gymnasiums. The grid pattern in Fig. 1a. . 1 are frequently used in practice. aircraft hangars. showing a part of the grid of Fig. rail ay stations. cultural centres. The grid of Fig. There are numerous examples of space structures that are built for sports stadiums. Space structure forms are at the centre of attention in the present review with emphasis on the geometric characteristics of lattice space structures and.y y y 'l tti space st ct es' t at consist of discrete. 1. This is illustrated in Fig. or 'flat grid'. there are also many other grid patterns that are commonly used. is the simplest pattern for a flat grid. leisure centres. 1b. supernal structures (that is. 2a with the omitted beam lines shown by dotted lines. elements. structures for outer space) and many other purposes. The basic grid patterns of Fig. shells. 2d. 2a is obtained from a three-way pattern by omitting every other beam line. auditoriums. in particular. consists of two parallel sets of interconnected beams that are disposed obli uely with respect to the boundary lines. These patterns are normally derived by removal of some elements from the basic patterns of Fig. shopping malls. radio telescopes. 2c. The two terms are considered to be synonymous. barrel vaults and domes. shown in Fig. The diagonal pattern. A number of basic grid patterns are illustrated in Fig. the families of grids. The reason for classification of a flat grid as a space structure is that its external loads and displacements do not lie in the plane that contains its (idealised) configuration. 2. However. The term 'spatial structure' is sometimes used instead of 'space structure'. and 'biform space structures' that consist of a combination of discrete and continuous parts. 'continuous space structures' t at consist of components such as slabs. Two examples of this type of operation are shown in Fig.
A question that arises naturally in this relation is: Are there some general principles or guidelines through which the structural behaviour of different grid patterns can be classified and used for selecting the 'right' pattern for every design case? The answer is that different grid patterns do indeed have their own characteristics. support . one would li e to find the most suitable pattern for the particular application. However.Figure 1: Some basic patterns Figure 2: Pattern creation by element removal In designing a grid configuration. there are no inherent 'good' or 'bad' grid patterns and the suitability of a pattern for each particular case should be considered with regard to the shape and si e of the boundary.
Also. Doubl l r gri A 'double layer grid' consists of two (nominally) parallel layers of elements that are interconnected together with 'web' elements . The result is a double layer grid that effectively consists of a number of intersecting plane trusses. Here. the 'top' layer elements are shown by thick lines and the 'bottom' layer elements as well as the 'web' elements are shown by thin lines. loading characteristics. . 3. Also. material(s) to be used and the manner in which the structure is to be constructed. In the case of the grid of Fig. A truss grid may be regarded as a flat grid whose elements are trusses. the top and bottom layers are of an identical shape and are positioned such that their plan views are coincident. 3d.positions. Views of some commonly used patterns of double layer grids are shown in Fig. 3b. There are also many double layer grids built with a two-way pattern for one of the layers and a diagonal pattern for the other layer. the diagonal truss grid of Fig. In this figure. such as the one shown in Fig. The double layer grid of Fig. is often used as a basis for the creation of various 'reduced forms' by removing a number of elements. 3a. A double layer grid of a different kind is shown in Fig. 3a by removing the bottom layer and web elements that are connected to a number of bottom layer nodes. A primary double layer grid pattern. A grid of this type is referred to as a 'truss grid'. 3e from the grid of Fig. These comments also apply in relation to all other space structure forms. 3c. This grid is obtained from the grid of Fig. both the top and bottom layers have a diagonal pattern. 3b. 3a consists of a two-way top layer and a two-way bottom layer. 3c. A similar process is used for obtaining the reduced grid of Fig. in this case all the web elements lie in vertical planes. 3f is obtained by removing the non-boundary third-direction trusses of the grid of Fig. An example of this is shown in Fig.
shear forces and torques are also present in the elements of double layer (or multilayer) grids in various proportions depending on the cross-sectional properties of the elements and the jointing system. the non-axial force effects in these cases are normally secondary. Also. However. (Courtesy of Tomoe Corporation) (Click on it to enlarge 180k) There is a fundamental difference between the structural behaviour of flat grids and that of double layer (or multilayer) grids. flat grids are 'bending dominated' with the elements being under bending moments. Bi orm gri Certain types of biform grids are frequently used in practice: y y y Flat grids are often built in reinforced concrete with an integrated slab at the top.Figure 3: Examples of double layer grids Grids may also involve more than two layers of elements. the main internal forces in the elements of double layer (or multilayer) grids are axial forces. Namely. Bending moments. . a steel flat grid may be combined with a reinforced concrete slab. allowing for greater structural depth to cater for longer spans. In contrast. There are many instances of steel double layer (or multilayer) grids with the top layer replaced by (or embedded in) reinforced concrete slabs. shear forces and torques. There are also many examples of double layer (and multilayer) grids with incorporated membrane parts.
However. The result is a cylindrical form that may involve one. The barrel vault in Fig. Barrel vaul (Courtesy of Taiyo Kogyo Corporation) (Click on it to enlarge 180k) A 'barrel vault' is obtained by 'arching' a grid along one direction . a space structure is considered to be biform provided that both the discrete and continuous parts play significant structural roles. the lattice part of the structure is expected to be self-contained (that is. Also. 4a but has a three-way pattern. Also. A double layer barrel vault is shown in Fig. a doublelayer grid. Fig. Thus.A biform space structure that consists of a combination of discrete steel elements and continuous reinforced concrete parts is traditionally referred to as a 'composite space structure'. the barrel vault of Fig. a biform space structure that consists of a combination of discrete elements (in any material) and continuous membrane parts is referred to as a 'hybrid space structure'. 4a shows a single layer barrel vault that is obtained by arching a diagonal flat grid. it should be noted that. to be load-bearing by itself). 4d has a top layer and a bottom layer with interconnecting web elements. Some examples of barrel vault configurations are shown in Fig. 4. However. 4c with both the top and bottom layers having a two-way pattern. a membrane structure with a number of individual support poles will not be regarded as a hybrid structure. in the case of a hybrid space structure. normally. will not be considered as a composite double layer grid unless the slab and the grid are designed to interact structurally. which has a reinforced concrete slab at the top. two or more layers of elements. Also. A barrel vault with a diagonal pattern is often referred to as a 'lamella barrel vault'. Thus. in this case the disposition of the elements . 4b is similar to the one in Fig.
A compound barrel vault consists of two or more barrel vaults that are connected together along their sides. or it may consist of a patchwork of different surfaces. 5. the surface of the barrel vault of Fig. 4g is obtained by combining three barrel vaults identical to the one in Fig. Examples of this are shown in Figs 4e and 4f. The shape of the cross-section of a barrel vault may vary along its longitudinal axis. The compound barrel vault of Fig.results in a 'truss barrel vault'. a barrel vault that consists of intersecting curved trusses. Some commonly used basic single layer dome configurations are shown in Fig. When the number of ribs is large then there could be a problem regarding the . A ribbed dome will not be structurally stable unless it is designed as a rigidly-jointed system. The surface of a dome may be a part of a single surface such as a sphere or a paraboloid. 4f is a part of an ellipsoid of revolution. A ribbed dome consists of a number of intersecting 'ribs' and 'rings'. 4 are circular. The dome shown in Fig. a parabolic or many other shapes. 4b. The surface of the lamella barrel vault of Fig. 5a is a 'ribbed dome'. 4g. An example of a 'compound barrel vault' is shown in Fig. Domes A 'dome' is a structural system that consists of one or more layers of elements that are 'arched' in all directions . Also. that is. A rib is a group of elements that lie along a meridional line and a ring is a group of elements that constitute a hori ontal polygon. a barrel vault may have a cross-section which has an elliptic. Figure 4 : Examples of barrel vaults The cross-sections of the barrel vaults in Fig. However. 4e is a part of a hyperboloid of revolution.
. 2c. The dome shown in Fig. Another example is shown in Fig. 5g is an example of a basic diamatic form consisting of triangulated sectors. This dome configuration also involves trimming to avoid overcrowding of the elements at the upper part of the dome. An example of a 'trimmed ribbed dome' is shown in Fig. 5f. Schwedler who built many domes of this kind). W. (Courtesy of Tomoe Corporation) (Click on it to enlarge 180k) A modified form of a ribbed dome is obtained by 'bracing' the quadrilateral panels of the dome. One way of avoiding this problem is to cut back the upper parts of some of the ribs. 5d. An example of a trimmed lamella dome with rings is shown in Fig. Such an operation is referred to as 'trimming'.'overcrowding' of the elements near the crown. An example of a 'lamella dome' is shown in Fig. 5h is obtained from a denser version of the dome of Fig. 5e. 5g by removing every other line of elements in a manner similar to that shown in Fig. 5c. The pattern of the diamatic dome of Fig. The result is a dome configuration that is referred to as a 'Schwedler dome' (after the nineteenth century German engineer J. The dome configurations shown in Figs 5g and 5h are two examples of a family of domes that are referred to as 'diamatic domes' . A simple example of a Schwedler dome is shown in Fig. A lamella dome has a diagonal pattern and may involve one or more rings. 5b when every other rib is 'trimmed' to the level of the fourth ring from the top.
5]. The grid dome of Fig. 2a onto a spherical surface. The grid dome of Fig. 2b. Grid domes are normally rather shallow with their rise to span ratios being smaller than the other types of domes.Figure 5: Examples of single layer domes The domes shown in Figs 5i and 5j represent two examples of the family of 'grid domes' [3. 5i is obtained by projection of a denser version of the pattern of Fig. . 6]. there are a large number of double layer (and multilayer) dome patterns that may be obtained from the combinations of the basic patterns. The geodesic dome of Fig. the structures will be prone to snapthrough buckling. 5l is obtained in a similar manner with the initial pattern chosen such that the resulting dome has a honeycomb appearance. A dome of this kind is obtained by mapping patterns on the faces of a polyhedron and projecting the resulting configuration onto a curved surface [3. 5k. This comment also applies to the case of single layer barrel vaults. Otherwise. An important point that should be borne in mind is that one should be careful in using single layer domes unless the jointing system provides sufficient rigidity for the connections and that the elements are designed for resisting bending and shear in addition to the axial forces. 5 represent the basic dome patterns but there are many other dome patterns that are obtained as variations of the basic forms. Also. A 'geodesic' dome configuration is shown in Fig. Included in these are 'truss domes' that consist of intersecting curved trusses. 5k is obtained by mapping a triangulated pattern on five neighbouring faces of an icosahedron (20-faced regular polyhedron) and projecting the result onto a sphere which is concentric with the icosahedron. The dome of Fig. The configurations shown in Fig. A grid dome is obtained by projecting a plane grid pattern onto a curved surface. 5j is obtained in a similar manner using a denser version of the pattern of Fig.
June 1995. Z S (Editor). Design and Construction of Braced Domes. 1984  Nooshin. including some very impressive ones. Italy. Modern continuous domes and barrel vaults are normally built using reinforced concrete. there is the ingenious igloo which is a continuous dome structure made from snow blocks. Diamatic Transformations. H and Tomatsuri. Edited by G C Giuliani. Z S (Editor). Proceedings of the International Symposium on Conceptual Design of Structures. 1981 (Obtainable from Chapman & Hall Publishers)  Makowski. Present and Future.Bi orm and continuous domes and barrel vaults There are many examples of biform domes and barrel vaults both in composite and hybrid forms. Edited by K U Blet inger et al. throughout the globe. A hybrid dome or barrel vault consists of a load bearing lattice framework and structurally active membrane parts. A Technique for Surface Generation. References y y y y y y  Makowski. Editors: H Nooshin and Z S Makowski. chapter 12 in the book: Beyond the Cube: The Architecture of Space Frames and Polyhedra. Proceedings of the Symposium on Spatial Structures: Heritage. Analysis. pp 331-338  Nooshin. H. timber and fibre reinforced composites. A composite dome or barrel vault consists of a steel lattice framework with an incorporated reinforced concrete shell which is designed to interact with the lattice part structurally. O. Granada Publishing Ltd. Analysis. H. John Wiley & Sons. 1997. Analysis. October 1996. Stuttgart. H. Germany. P and Champion. pp 343-384 Sources of general information about space structures y  International Journal of Space Structures (currently in its twelfth volume). Z S (Editor). pp 71-82  Nooshin. Disney. Continuous domes and barrel vaults have been constructed in various masonry materials since the ancient times and there exist thousands of such structures. Published by Multi- . Milan. Design and Construction of Double Layer Grids. Design and Construction of Braced Barrel Vaults. Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd. Published by Institute fur Konstruktion und Entwurf II. Also. Applied Science Publishers Ltd. 1985 (Obtainable from Chapman & Hall Publishers)  Makowski. Computer Aided Processing of Polyhedric Configurations. Edited by: J Francois Gabriel.
1991  Parke. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Space Structures. Studies in Space Structures. Alfonso XII. September 1966). 1965  Davies. Spain . UK  Makowski. Thomas Telford Services Ltd. 328014 Madrid. H (Editor). Spain  Proceedings of Past Conferences Organised by the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. 1967  Supple. London. Editor: J Abel. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Space Structures (held in London. 1993  Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (currently in its 38th volume). Alfonso XII. Steel Space Structures. Z S.y y y y y y y y Science Publishing Co Ltd. R M (Editor). Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd. Brentwood. 107 High Street. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Space Structures. G A R and Howard. 1984 (Obtainable from Chapman & Hall Publishers)  Nooshin. C M (Editors). held at the University of Surrey. Published by the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. H (Editor). Blackwell Scientific Publications. Michael Joseph Ltd. 3-28014 Madrid. Multi-Science Publishing Co Ltd. Essex CM14 4RX. UK. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Space Structures. September 1975  Nooshin. UK. W J (Editor).
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