Experimental Test Methods for Inflatable Fabric Beams
Airbeams take the form of beams or arches and carry shear, moments and thrusts. Assessing the load-deformation response of an airbeam is essential in the design of an airbeam-supported tent. Modeling of the airbeams requires that fabric constitutive properties be available to obtain optimal design of airbeam structures. However, airbeam technology is relatively new; there are few standard tests for determining fabric constitutive properties and to be used for fabric quality control. This research reviews the current state of the art in textile testing and recommends test practices for accurately identifying the constitutive properties of the airbeam fabrics. Preliminary test results from loading of inflated airbeams have also been completed. These tests are critical to understanding the importance of fabric constitutive properties, operating pressure, and loading on airbeam load-deformation response.