Novel methods for analyzing the response of air inflated fabric structures are presented. The first method determines the global structural response of air inflated beam and arch structures. It employs a previously developed specialized finite element. The element was derived by minimizing the strain energy potential for a cylindrical membrane deforming about its pressurized state. Through the use of displacement approximations defining the motion of the beam’s cross section, analogous to classical beam theory, the energy principle is reduced to one dimension. However, the effect of the pressure is included in the formulation. Numerical results compare favorably to experimental data for air beams constructed from Vectran®. The second method is based on the micromechanics of plain-woven fabrics. It employs nonlinear kinematics to predict the load-displacement response of a biaxially loaded fabric. Based on the fabric strip model, this method includes the effects of crimp in nonlinear kinematic material behavior and estimates values of effective material properties in tension and shear.

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