Tension-Strut Systems in Conservation of Historical Buildings: Examples of Applications
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Submission date: 2020-04-24
Final revision date: 2020-06-24
Acceptance date: 2020-06-26
Publication date: 2020-08-25
Archives of Civil Engineering 2020;66(3):659-674
Tension-strut systems consist of thin cables and membranes capable of carrying only tensile forces and compressed struts cooperating with them. They make very effective use of strength properties of materials. They are lightweight and common in large span structures such as bridges and stadium roofs. However, they may also be advantageous in reinforcing and repairing historical buildings as they conform to conservation law in force. This paper presents a few examples of such applications of tension-strut system. Stabilization of historic brick and stone vaults with buttresses and iron bowstrings often turns out inadequate to resist thrust forces transmitted from the vault to the walls which cause cracks and deformations of the vault. Properly designed tension-strut structure can resist the thrust forces calculated in a theoretical way. Moreover, it can be hidden in the attic of building. Old timber roof structures are usually deformed and excessively deflected. Skilfully assembled tensionstrut systems enable straightening and geometrical adjustment of a roof structure. Although similar threats and structural damages occur in most buildings which are a few hundred years old, individual design solutions are required in each case. Historical investigation and detailed measurement of geometry and deflections have to be made before choosing the apprioprate method of reinforcing the old structure.
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