Journal article Open Access

Cost-Effective Design of Space Structures Joints: A Review

Mohammed I. Ali; Feng Fan; Peter N. Khakina; Ma H.H

In construction of any structure, the aesthetic and utility values should be considered in such a way as to make the structure cost-effective. Most structures are composed of elements and joints which are very critical in any skeletal space structure because they majorly determine the performance of the structure. In early times, most space structures were constructed using rigid joints which had the advantage of better performing structures as compared to pin-jointed structures but with the disadvantage of requiring all the construction work to be done on site. The discovery of semi-rigid joints now enables connections to be prefabricated and quickly assembled on site while maintaining good performance. In this paper, cost-effective is discussed basing on strength of connectors at the joints, buckling of joints and overall structure, and the effect of initial geometrical imperfections. Several existing joints are reviewed by classifying them into categories and discussing where they are most suited and how they perform structurally. Also, finite element modeling using ABAQUS is done to determine the buckling behavior. It is observed that some joints are more economical than others. The rise to span ratio and imperfections are also found to affect the buckling of the structures. Based on these, general principles that guide the design of cost-effective joints and structures are discussed.

Files (333.8 kB)
Name Size
333.8 kB Download
  • American Institute of Steel Construction, Specification for structural steel buildings, Chicago, 2010.
  • Australian Building Codes Board, Steel structures, AS 4100, 1998.
  • British Standard - BS 5950, Structural use of steelwork in building - Part 1: Code of practice for design - Rolled and welded sections, 2001.
  • C. Douthe, O. Baverel and J. F. Caron, "Form-finding of a grid shell in composite materials", J. IASS. 47, 53 - 62, 2006.
  • F. Fan, Z. Cao and S. Shen, "Elasto-plastic stability of single-layer reticulated shells", Thin wall struct., 48, 827-836, 2010. [10] M. Hansson and P. Ellegaard, "System reliability of timber trusses based on non-linear structural modeling", Mater. Struct., 39, 593-600, 2006. [11] M. Holmes and H. L. Martin, "Analysis and design of structural connections: Reinforced concrete and steel," John Willey & sons, New York, USA, 1983. [12] A. Ivan and M. Ivan, "Typical failure modes of some single layered reticulated shells", International Colloquium-Recent advances and new trends in structural design, Editura Orizonturi Universitare, Timisoara, Romania, p. 145-154, 2004. [13] X. Liu, Q. Zhao, H. Liu and Z. Chen, "Innovations in design and construction of the new stadiums and gymnasiums for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games", J. IASS. 52(1), 39-52, 2011. [14] A. L├│pez, I. Puente and M.A. Serna, "Analysis of Single Layer Latticed Domes: a new Beam-element", International IASS Symposium on Lightweight Structures in Civil Engineering. Warsaw, Poland, p. 639 - 644, 2002. [15] H. H. Ma, F. Fan, and S. Z. Shen, "Numerical parametric investigation of single-layer latticed domes with semi-rigid joints", J. IASS., 49 (2), 99-110, 2008. [16] H. Ma, F. Fan, Z. Cao, M. Cui and S. Shen, "Numerical simulations of semi-rigid joints in single-layer dome structures", J. IASS. 52 (1), 3-18, 2011. [17] Z. S. Makowski, "Analysis, design and construction of braced domes" GRANADA, London, UK, 1984. [18] Z.S. Makowski, "Development of jointing systems for modular prefabricated steel space structures", International IASS Symposium on Lightweight Structures in Civil Engineering, Warsaw, Poland, 2002, p. 17 - 41. [19] Narayanan, S. "Space Structures: Principles and Practice," Multi- Science Publishing Co. Ltd., Brentwood, USA, 2006). [20] S. Stephan, J. S├ínchez-Alvarez and K. Knebel, "Reticulated structures on free-form surface, " MERO GmbH @ Co., Wurzburg, Germany, 2010. [21] E. Tatsa and Y. Tene, "Buckling of reticulated shells with rigid joints", Acta Mech., 19, 77-88. [22] M. A. Vyzantiadou, A.V. Avdelas and S. Zafiripoulos (2007), "The application of fractual geometry to the design of grid or reticulated shell structures", Comput. Aided Design, 1974, 39, 51-59. [23] E. C. Zhu, Z. W. Guan, P. D. Rodd and D. J. Pope, "Buckling of oriented strand board webbed wood I-joists", J. Struct Eng., 2005, 131(10), 1629-1636. [24] H. Z. Zhou, F. Fan, and E. C. Zhu, "Buckling of reticulated laminated veneer lumber shells in consideration of the creep", Eng. Struct., 2010, 32, 2912-2918.
  • J. Chen, and H. Chen, "Stability of steel structures theory and design," China Electric power press, Beijing, China, 2009.
  • J. Chilton, Space grid structures, Architectural Press, Oxford, UK, 2000.
  • R. C.Battista, M. S. Pfeil and E. M.Batista, "Strengthening a reticulated spherical dome against local instabilities", J. Constr. Steel Res., 57, 15-28, 2001.
  • S. Darvishani-Fikouhi, Honeycomb topologies; "Design rationalization of a free-form space frame structure," Dissertation, University College London, London, UK, 2009.
All versions This version
Views 00
Downloads 00
Data volume 0 Bytes0 Bytes
Unique views 00
Unique downloads 00


Cite as