What Is Space Frame? | Components of Space Frame System | Types of Space Frame | Space Frame Structures Examples | Advantages & Disadvantages of Space Frame Structure

All About of Space Frame

Introduction of Space Frame

Space frames or space structures are used as geometric patterns, especially in industrial sheds. The structure of the space frame is made up of interlocking struts. It has a rigid, lightweight, truss-like structure in geometric patterns.

In architecture and structural engineering, there has been an increase in the construction and development of space frame structures. With modern technology, the space frame structure is chosen as an industrial shed.

The space frame can be designed with few internal supports for large spans. Like the truss, the space frame is formed in the shape of a triangle. The space frame is strong in the long span due to the inherent rigidity of the triangle shape. Bending moments in space frames are transferred as tension and compression loads along the length of each strut.

Alexander Graham Bell first introduced the concept of space frames from tetrahedral geometry. Belle used it primarily to create a rigid frame for nautical and aeronautical engineering needs.

Dr. Ing. Max Mengeringhausen used a space frame for a space grid system called MERO in Germany.

Space frames are widely used for the construction of stadiums, airports, exhibition halls, towers, and swimming pools.

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What Is Space Frame?

The space frame is a technique to cover long spans in architecture and structural engineering. This space frame is a rigid, truss type and light in weight structure. The truss in the space frame is composed of interlocking struts in a geometric pattern. Space frames are used for long spans with few internal supports.

Rigid matrix is used for the design of space frame structures. The space frame structure is a three-dimensional structure with various strut and linear elements assembled together. Which is adjusted to transfer the load coming on it.

The characteristic of the stiffness matrix in an architectural space frame depends on the angular element. If the joints of the space frame structure are rigid enough, they can resist angular deformations. And simplifies calculations for the space frame design.

The space frame structure is an indefinite type of structure. Which can be constructed quickly in a long span. It can cover large areas in minimum time.

The space frame structure can be constructed using the element of steel and timber. But steel material is the right material for space frame structure to sustain the structure intended for long time use.

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Components of Space Frame System

Space frame consists of various components for the construction of structures. These include linear action members and node connectors as key elements.

The linear members in the space frame are mainly round and rectangular in shape. Which includes tube or pipe sections. Which is used in the construction of space frames. The element can be easily assembled using space node connectors.

Node connectors are widely used to connect members from joints to space frame construction. The total applied load of the structure is transferred through the nodal joints.

The connection through the nodule is properly made very strong and rigid. So that it is able to transfer structural loads. Prefabricated units in various standard sizes and shapes of space frames are available in the market.

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Types of Space Frame Structure

Types of Space Frame Structure (3)

The different types of space frames are classified as follows,

1. Curvature Classification

  • Barrel vaults
  • Space Plane Covers
  • Spherical domes

1.1 Barrel Vaults

Barrel vaults are a popular way to cover large open areas with little support. These structures are usually developed as an economical alternative to the construction of industrial buildings as required.

Barrel vault Space structures serve a need associated with a variety of configurations.

1.2 Space Plane Covers

Spatial structures are constructed of planar substructures. They act as rigid plates. The deflection on his plane is supported by the channel. Similarly the transfer of shear force in its structure is supported by the diagonal.

1.3 Spherical Domes

The spherical space-frame structure is made up of a complex network of triangles. Each of the connected triangles forms a self-bracing structure. This type of structure is fragile despite being structurally strong.

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2. Classification by Arrangements of Its Elements

2.1 Single Layer Grid

This type of space frame consists of two or more elements parallel to the grid. Which intersect at an angle to each other in the frame. In this type of space frame, the element intersects perpendicularly to the plane. If the members of the grid are in the same plane, it is called a single-layer Grid.

2.2 Double Layer Grid

A double-layer grid is formed by extensions in single-layer grid systems, in which two elements of a parallel beam are connected perpendicular to each other. The design of this type of space frame consists of elements at diagonal angles.

2.3 Triple Layer Grid

In such frames, the element is placed in three parallel lines. Which are connected to each other by diagonals. Its texture is almost flat. This type of structure is used for industrial sheds for large spans.

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Space Frame Structures Examples

The following are some examples of space frame structures

  1. Eden Project in Cornwall, England
  2. Rogers Centre by Rod Robbie and Michael Allan
  3. Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil by Populous
  4. Bank of China Tower and the Louvre Pyramid, by I. M. Pei
  5. McCormick Place East in Chicago
  6. Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain by Arata Isozaki
  7. Harbin Opera House in China
  8. Entrance to Six Flags Magic Mountain
  9. Harbin Opera House in China by Ma Yansong
  10. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport airport terminal

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Space Frame Structure

Advantages of Space Frame Structure

Advantages of Space Frame Structure (2)

The various advantages of space frame structure are given below

  1. Space frame structures generally have acoustic properties.
  2. Perlin is not required in the construction of space structures.
  3. The space frame can be easily installed as it has prefabricated component parts for construction.
  4. Height can be obtained from space frame structures as required for industrial.
  5. The elements of space frame structures are light in weight. So its element can be easily transported and handled.
  6. Proper cambering features can be provided by the space frame structure.
  7. The elements of space frame structures are lighter than the materials of other structures.
  8. The space frame structure has a rigid type structure.
  9. In the design of this type of space frame structure, the concentrated load is evenly distributed over the entire structure.
  10.  Since the element of the space frame structure is lighter, the transport cost is less than the element of other types of structure.
  11. The design of the space frame structure gives minimum deflection.
  12. This type of structure can be designed in the right shape for an irregular plan.
  13. The wide span can be properly selected for the structure design.
  14. This type of structure can provide a term like column-free.
  15. This structure provides a mid-column to eliminate the need for geometric stability.

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Disadvantage of Space Frame Structure

Disadvantage of Space Frame Structure (3)

Some of the disadvantages like the advantages of space frame structures are as follows,

  1. Heavy-duty cranes are required for space frame structures.
  2. The construction of a space frame structure requires precise measurement and handling to fit large prefabricated sections properly.
  3. The elements of space frame structure are more expensive than volcanic prefabricated sections.
  4. Special skill labor is required for construction of space frame structure.
  5. There is a possibility of leakage from the joints of various elements in the space frame.

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Conclusion of Space Frame Structure

Space frame trusses can be used for overhead structures. This type of space can extend from a few supports in a frame structure to a large span.

It is designed as per the requirement of Space Frame Structure. Which is usually used based on the number of grid layers. Its three types are single-layer grid, double-layer grid, triple-layer grid.

The space frame is constructed by the proper combination of different elements. Which involves processes like welding, bolting or threading, etc.

Space frame construction is done by three main methods. These include the scaffolding method, block assembly method, lift-up method, etc.

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One thought on “What Is Space Frame? | Components of Space Frame System | Types of Space Frame | Space Frame Structures Examples | Advantages & Disadvantages of Space Frame Structure

  1. I have read this article about space frame structure carefully and got a lot of benefits. I am very grateful to the author for sharing. I am also engaged in the space frame industry. I have worked in SAFS Steel Structure Engineering Co., Ltd. for more than ten years. More people who want to know about this will pay off.

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