Space Structures: Principles and Practice

by Subramanian Narayanan
published June 2007 • ISBN 0 906522 420 • 862pp • 67.50 (in two volumes)


Space Structures are economical and aesthically pleasing in appearance. They provide a unique solution for covering large column free areas. This book gives a state of the art presentation of the analysis, design and construction of space structures. The author synthesizes data currently available with his original and exhaustive research to produce the definitive book on space structures.

Principal features and topics of the book include:

• Analysis, design and construction of various types of space structures
• Nodes and jointing systems
• Approximate methods of analysis
• Concepts are explained through over 400 figures, 90 photographs and 35 tables
• An extensive bibliography, over 1000 references in total

This book is appropriate for university level architecture / building science / civil engineering departmental libraries. Post graduate students and academics, as well as practising architects and engineers will find much of value in this comprehensive work.


Contents 1

Foreword Preface Acknowledgement

1. Introduction
General, Definition of Space Structures, Historical Developments, Types of Space Structures, Materials Used in Space Frames, Advantages and Disadvantages, Practical Difficulties, References

2. Single and multi-layer grids
Introduction, Single Layer Grid Systems, Double Layer Grids, Two-Way Space Grids, Three-Way Space Grids, Double Layer Grids for Multistorey Buildings, Advantages of Double Layer Grids, Cladding, Water Drainage in Double Layer Grids, Triple Layer Grids, Double Layer Grids for Walls, Multi-Layer Grids, Progressive Collapse and Composite Space Trusses, References

3. Braced domes
Introduction, Materials for Braced Domes, Functional Applications of Domes, Basic Geometries of Domes, Types of Braced Domes, Ribbed Domes, Schwedler Domes, Stiff-Jointed Framed Domes, Plate Type Domes, Network Domes, Zimmermann Domes, Lamella Domes, Geodesic Domes, Grid Domes, Improving the Buckling Behaviour of Single Layer Domes, Double Layer Domes, Search for the Optimum Type of Braced Dome, Timber Domes, Stressed Skin Domes, Some Outstanding Domes, Ice Domes, Freedome® Structures, Wind Loading on Domes, Low Cost Housing, Cladding, Erection, References

4. Braced folded structures
Introduction, Steel Frame Folded Plate Roofs, Baer's Approximate Method, Behaviour of Steel Frame Folded Plate Roofs, Braced Barrel Vaults, Behaviour of Braced Barrel Vaults, Practical Considerations, Practical Examples, References

5. Connectors
Introduction, Classification of Connectors, Ball Joint Systems, Socket Joint Systems, Plate Joint Systems, Slot Joint Systems, Shell Joint Systems, Modular Systems, Compositive Systems, Comparison of Prefabricated systems, Design of Spherical Joints, Other Patented Systems, Newly Developed MERO Joints, Some Simple Connectors, References

6. Stressed skin systems
Introduction, Stressed Skin Steel Buildings, Stressed Skin Grids, Stressed Skin Domes and Folded Plate Structures, References

7. Cable suspended roof structures
Introduction, Components of Suspended Roofs, Types of Cable Network Systems, Shapes of Cable Suspended Systems, Examples of Cable Suspended Roofs, Analysis of Suspension Structures, Construction Aspects of Cable Roofs, Design of Cable Roofs, Ancillary Problems, Erection of Cable Roofs, Economy, New Trends, References

8. Tensile membrane structures
General, Part I Pneumatic Structures, Introduction, Characteristics of Pneumatic Structures, Types of Pneumatic Structures, Structural Materials and Coatings, Fans and Pressure Control, Doors, Lighting, Other Aspects, Erection , Anchorage Design, Maintenance, Temperature and Sound Control, Analysis of Pneumatic Structures, Trends in Pneumatic Constructions, Failures of Air-Supported Structures, Part II Membrane Structures, Introduction, Analysis of Net and Tent Structures, Factors to be considered in the design, Examples of Membrane Structures, Examples of Large Scale membrane Structures, Membrane Materials, Typical Joints and Edge Details, Design Standards for Membrane Structures, Other Practical Considerations, References


Contents 2

9. Tensegritic structures
Introduction, Tensegritic Nets, Tensegritic Structures, Tensegritic Structures and Maxwell's Rules, Morphological Studies, Characteristics of Tensegritic Structures, Stability of Tensegritic Structures, Application of Tensegritic Nets, Analysis and Design of Tensegritic Structures, Other Aspects, Cable (Tenstar) Dome, Tension Strut Dome, Other types of Tensegrity Domes, Truss Structures stabilized by Cable Tension (TSC), Suspen - Dome Structure, Flying Mast Fabric Roof System, References

10. Analysis of skeletal space frames
Introduction, Available Analytical Methods, Matrix Methods of Structural Analysis, Basic Principles of the Stiffness Method, Development of Stiffness Matrix for Plane Frame Members, Assembly of the Stiffness Matrix for a Structure, Banding of the K-Matrix, Solution to the Stiffness Equations, Stiffness Matrices for a Straight Uniform Member in a Space Structure, Stiffness Matrices which include Secondary Effects, Stiffness Matrices which Take into Account the Offset Members, Determination of the Elastic Critical Loads of Space Structures, Software Packages, References

11. Formex data generation
Introduction, Formex Algebra, Formex Approach to Data Generation, Formian, Concluding Remarks, References

12. Approximate methods of analysis
General, Double Layer Grids, Curved Space Frames, Steel Frame Folded Plate Roofs, Stressed Skin Folded Plate Roof, Design of Suspended Roof Structures, Pneumatic Structures, References

13. Some important aspects of space structures
Introduction, Design of Skeletal Space Structures, Construction, Supports and Support Conditions, Cladding of Space Frames, Aesthetics, Failures of Skeletal Space Frames, Other Types of Skeletal Space Frames, Some Outstanding Space Structures, Current and Future Trends in Space Structures, References

14. Space structures with changing geometries
Introduction, Deployable Structures, Adaptive Trusses, Pantadome System - A Deployable System for the Erection of domes, Retractable Roofs, References

Appendix I Polyhedra and Polygon Patterns
General, Definition of Polyhedra, Types of Polyhedra, Properties of Regular Polyhedra, Polygon Patterns, References

Appendix II Computer Program for the Buckling Analysis of Skeletal Space Frames
General, Description of the Program, Input/Output Data, Dimensions, Examples, Listing of the Computer Program, Sample Input of the Program, Output of the Program

Appendix III Bending of an Axially Loaded Member



Click here to order the book


back to top



main page

Click here to order the book

The author

Dr Narayanan obtained his doctorate from I.I.T Chennai in 1978, and is currently Chief Executive of Computer Design Consultants. For this book, he draws on more than 30 years experience in computer aided design, consultancy, research and teaching. He is the author of 20 books on structural engineering and computers and has contributed over 150 papers to national and international journals. He is an editorial board member of several journals, including the International Journal of Space Structures.