shade sail fabric

What is membrane structure and why become more popular?

More and more project like stadium, sports ground and exhibition center like Shanghai New International Expo Center(SNIEC) use the membrane structure fabric(tensile fabric structure) as its roof. Membrane structure are becoming more and more popular, what makes membrane structure much popular? And what is membrane structure? Not only because it’s cost effective, light weight, energy save, light through, and easy to make any design, nice looking.

Tensile fabric structures only carry tension and are commonly used as roofs or canopies for military hangers, athletic facilities, gaming and entertainment structures, etc. While tensile structures can include cable structures, we will only focus on membrane structures in this post.

shade sail

​Tensile fabric structures are thin shelled structures made out of polyester or woven fabric, protected with coatings or laminations. Membrane joints are usually glued or welded together, while clamp plates, bale rings, or membrane plates are used to connect the membrane to its supporting structure. Different arrangement and direction of fabric warps produce different strength values. Depend on different material there are PVC membrane structure, PTFE membrane structure and ETFE membrane structure.

PVC coated polyester fabric has a economy costs, so it is more for car parking, shade sail structure, sun shades, and small roofs.

PTFE coated fibreglass has high life expectancy and provides incombustible effect, so it is more for long lasting structures. Although PTFE is expensive, it provides good resistance to UV radiation, wear, weather conditions, and chemical attacks and can have long spans. PTFE does not creep over time.

ETFE have high tear strength, so they creep when loaded and yield when elongated

Advantage of membrane structure:

Spans with large distance like 3-100m so less structure steel are used for roof, high strength with weight ratio. The structure design can be arches, saddles, masts, or combination of shape, the welding and installation can finish in 7-15days. Free flowing designs for aesthetic look, only few support columns are needed, less frame, the roof is becoming light weight an flexible structure.


The fabric is UV proof but with light go through, so it saves energy for lights, as well as it was fire resistance comply to building material regulations.

With these features the membrane structure area become more and more popular in the world.


We have type 1-4 with fabric wegith 700gsm, 900gsm, 1100gsm, and 1400gsm available for different application and tensile strength, for any questions please contact

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