Massive modern structures today such as gymnasiums, warehouses, and stadiums employ textile materials for its numerous advantages. Aside from being cost-effective, fabric structures can be easily built, are able to withstand tough weather conditions, and are recyclable. Those are important features when it comes to architecture nowadays.
Choosing fabric structures for a building project is not easy.
There are many factors to consider aside from the available budget. One has to think about strength, security, insulation, and durability. There’s also the matter of purpose. Erecting gymnasiums for example, could mean that the facility would be available for use for a long time. This requires reliable materials that will endure for years.
If you decide to use textile structures in your project, there are a few basic things to remember. Here is a simple list:
This trait refers to many things; but particularly in the main properties of a fabric – such as material behavior, elasticity, color, etc. – that would make it a good choice for the construction. Textile should be strong enough to bear being joined to other materials (such as steel) through processes like gluing or welding.
Another vital property to look for is the fabric’s performance during unpredictable weather. If the building would be setup in a cold climate for instance, it should be able to withstand freezing winds as well as snow.
This refers to a material’s resistance to tension. In terms of fabric, there’s no doubt that it will be stretched to all sorts of shapes, curves, and widths. At all costs, it must NOT rip or tear. Depending on the raw material used on the textile, if only a single thread is broken, it will jeopardize the rest of the component. To test for tensile strength, you can stretch the desired fabric on a pre-made framework.
Here’s when things get tricky for many project managers: what’s the difference between ‘flame retardant’ and ‘flame proof’? Materials that are deemed ‘flame retardant’ are treated with chemicals so it will self-extinguish (burn slowly). ‘Flame proof’ components on the other hand, are naturally insusceptible to fire. They also don’t drip or melt when exposed to heat.
Nomex for example, is a type of fabric that is considered flame proof; whereas polyester is ‘flame retardant’. It will still burn when there’s flame – but it will take time to spread and eventually die out.
Current technologies have allowed textiles to be stronger. Most structures built with fabrics can last for a good 20-30 years. The framework can be repaired or replaced inexpensively. If it’s made of aluminum, then maintenance shouldn’t be much of a problem. Top-coatings will keep these structures clean and durable for the next years to come.
Before construction can even begin, a material’s properties must be taken into account. This will help with the design of the project, as well as be a guide for financing the entire endeavor. The right textile should be carefully selected for structures that need to be built, dismantled, and re-erected. For other details, tensioned membrane specialists like Sprung Fabric Buildings can be contacted.