Keywords: retractable roofs, scissor mechanisms, retractable membrane structures, artificial muscles, structural engineering, scissor-hinged frames, structural membranes, roof configurations, tennis courts, tennis arena, tensile surface structures
Scissor-hinged retractable membrane structures
This paper introduces scissor-hinged retractable membrane structures, a system for retractable membrane roofs that require a fully retractable supporting structure and multiple stable roof-configurations. A vaulted, foldable, supporting structure is developed consisting of two scissor-hinged frames that can retract towards opposite sides of the space below. Structural membranes are spanned in these frames in a ridge-and-valley configuration to form the roof's outer surface. Actuators are integrated to control the tension in the membrane surface in different roof-configurations. Transformation from one configuration to another is controlled by cables running through the supporting structure over series of pulleys. The characteristics of these components are discussed, and their implementation illustrated with a design for a retractable roof over a tennis arena. The structural behaviour of this roof is analysed under representative load conditions. A procedure for such analyses using conventional software tools for the design and analysis of tensile surface structures is presented.