Thin-shell structure

Thin-shell structure

The Forest Opera, and open-air amphitheatre is located in Sopot, Poland, with a capacity of 4400 seats with a membrane roof.
Great Court, with a lattice thin-shell roof by Buro Happold with Norman Foster, British Museum, London

Thin-shell structures are also called plate and shell structures. They are lightweight constructions using shell elements. These elements are typically curved and are assembled to large structures. Typical applications are fuselages of aeroplanes, boat hulls and roof structures in some buildings.


  • Definition 1
  • Types 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


A thin shell is defined as a shell with a thickness which is small compared to its other dimensions and in which deformations are not large compared to thickness. A primary difference between a shell structure and a plate structure is that, in the unstressed state, the shell structure has curvature as opposed to the plates structure which is flat. Membrane action in a shell is primarily caused by in-plane forces (plane stress), though there may be secondary forces resulting from flexural deformations. Where a flat plate acts similar to a beam with bending and shear stresses, shells are analogous to a cable which resists loads through tensile stresses. Though the ideal thin shell must be capable of developing both tension and compression.[1]


The most popular types of thin-shell structures are:

See also


  1. ^ Chen, Wai-Fah, Handbook of Structural Engineering, 1997 CRC Press


  • Bechthold, M.: Innovative Surface Structures. (2008) Taylor and Francis.
  • “Vladimir G. Suchov 1853-1939. Die Kunst der sparsamen Konstruktion.”, Rainer Graefe und andere, 192 S., Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1990, ISBN 3-421-02984-9.

External links

  • Thin-shell structures
  • Double thin-shells structures
  • Hypar & Concrete Shells
  • Lattice and grid shell structures
  • Past and Future of Grid Shell Structures
  • Shape optimization of Shell and Spatial structure
  • Lattice Shell for Space Vehicles
  • International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures