A Space Frame structure can be defined as a rigid, lightweight, (rigid) truss-like structure. It is constructed from interlocking struts (structural elements) in a geometric pattern. The Space frames can be used efficiently to cover huge areas with minimum interior supports.

A space frame structure’s robustness is due to its inherent rigidity of the triangle and flexing loads that are transmitted as tension and compression loads along the length of each strut.

Design Analysis of a Space Frame Structure

Space frames are typically designed using a rigidity matrix. The special characteristic of the stiffness matrix in an architectural space frame is the independence of the angular factors. If the joints are sufficiently rigid, the angular deflections can be neglected, simplifying the calculations.

The simplest form of the space frame is a horizontal slab of interlocking square pyramids and tetrahedra built from aluminum or tubular steel struts. In many ways, this looks like the horizontal jib of a tower crane repeated many times to make it wider. A stronger form is composed of interlocking tetrahedra in which all the struts have a unit length.

More technically this is referred to as an isotropic vector matrix or in a single unit width an octet truss. More complex variations change the lengths of the struts to curve the overall structure or may incorporate other geometrical shapes.

Space frames are a common feature in modern building construction; they are often found in large roof spans in modernist commercial and industrial buildings.

space frame structure

Applications of a Space Frame Structure

  • Commercial and industrial structures
  • Auditoriums
  • Skylights
  • Canopies
  • Toll booths
  • Exhibition halls
  • Sports stadiums

Different classification of a Space Frame Structure

A space frame structure is classified into two categories, namely, Curvature Classification and Classification by the arrangement. Details are analyzed below.

Curvature classification of a Space Frame Structure

  • Spaceplane covers: These spatial structures are composed of planar substructures. Their behavior is similar to that of a plate in which the deflections in the plane are channeled through the horizontal bars and the shear forces are supported by the diagonals
  • Barrel vaults: This type of vault has a cross-section of a simple arch. Usually, this type of space frame does not need to use tetrahedral modules or pyramids as a part of its backing.
  • Spherical domes and other compound curves usually require the use of tetrahedral modules or pyramids and additional support from a skin.

Classification by the arrangement of a Space Frame Structure elements

  • Single-layer grid:

    All elements are located on the surface to be approximated.

  • Double layer grid:

    Elements are organized in two layers parallel to each other at a certain distance apart. Each of the layers forms a lattice of triangles, squares, or hexagons in which the projection of the nodes in a layer may overlap or be displaced relative to each other. Diagonal bars connect the nodes of both layers in different directions in space. In this type of meshes, the elements are associated into three groups: upper cordon, cordon, and cordon lower diagonal.

  • Triple-layer grid:

    Elements are placed in three parallel layers, linked by the diagonals. They are almost always flat. Hanging cover.


We recommend you the best space frame architectures

Mosaned specializes in long–span, column-free and small to large volume space frame structures for industrial or architectural applications.

Mosaned space frame system, with its steel bars and nodes, not only distributes loads more efficiently but also provides an elegant interior that can span up to 100 m in a flat space frame or 300 m in a curved configuration.

Their projects include schools, public buildings, transportation structures, museums, corporate office buildings, and beyond.

Mosaned structures are 100% prefabricated, with easy assembled mechanical connections. The connection between tubes is mechanical and efficient and requires no welding. The connector itself is a full-body steel node hub. The tubes are screwed and fastened at their ends to this node element. All the elements are produced either galvanized, painted, or of stainless material as per customer needs.


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