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Membrane structures

Study Course “Membrane Structures”.

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Study Course “Membrane Structures”

Intended Audience

The post-graduate master program “Membrane Structures” is targeting on graduates of bachelor or master courses in architecture, civil engineering, and surveying or in any other comparable study course with a minimum duration of 3 years and at least 1 year of professional experience.

Structure of Study Course

The study course is designed to have four semesters in English language only which are subject to charge and will be held parallel to professional life. It consists of three terms each containing one week-long phase of attendance and additional support via internet for the phases of distant learning. The fourth semester is dedicated to the master thesis.

During the phases of attendance basics and skills will be taught as basis for phases of distant learning where project have to be prepared in teamwork and in individual work. The targeted vocational fields of the graduates are the manifold possibilities of professional assignment as specialist in the field of membrane industry, in architecture offices, and in engineering companies for planning of structural framework and surveying.

The entire study is characterized by a strict practical orientation enforced by the members of the teaching staff which are specialists working in the field of study.

Some Lecturers

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Study Schedule – Mandatory Modules

Module 1 - Architecture
•historical background
•design process
•methods for visualization
•form finding by computational modeling
•form finding by physical modeling
•physical patterning
•concept of utilization and applications

Module 2 – Numerical Theory
•mechanics of membranes and cables (differential geometry and continuum mechanics (overview); mechanical behavior of membranes and cables)
•form finding (what is form finding?, historical background, cable element for form finding using constant prescribed force density, membrane element for form finding, examples

Module 3 – Membrane Programs I and Structural Design and Details I
•exercises by using especial software (SOFISTIK, FORTEN, …) – Part I
•computational simulation of interaction of loads and large deformations – Part I
•structural design
•cable structures

Module 4 – Membrane Programs II and Structural Design and Details II
•exercises by using especial software (SOFISTIK, FORTEN, …) – Part II
•computational simulation of interaction of loads and large deformations – Part II
•reaction forces at buildings
•interaction of main structure, substructures and membrane
•retractable systems and movement mechanisms

Module 5 – Mechanical and Physical Properties
•material properties
•materials (woven fabric, coated woven fabric, film)
•mechanical properties of membrane materials
•evidences of fire protection, hail stone, …

Module 6 – Dimensioning
•exposures and its super position for load assumptions of membrane structures
•wind tunnel investigations for soft structures
•reduction factors for fabrics and films
•mechanical characteristics of membrane materials
•static concepts for membrane structures
•international approvals, safety levels and norms

Module 7 - Building Physics and Technical Equipment
•optical material properties
•sound insulation
•heat insulation
•humidity insulation
•thermal simulation, indoor
•technical (building-)equipment

Module 8 – Internship Theory – Fabrication and Built up
•confection and fabrication
•connections at boundaries and edges
•welding techniques and machines
•transportation and erection
•quality assurance

Study Schedule - Optional Module

WPM 1 - Design Studio, Calculation and Detailing
WPM 2 - Membrane Program, Calculation and Detailing
WPM 3 - Experimental Structures
WPM 4 - Bionic Structures
WPM 5 - Geo-Textiles
WPM 6 - Visualization
WPM 7 - Economics and Law
WPM 8 - International Markets
WPM 9 - Project Management
WPM 10 - Controlling-Marketing

Introductory Course on Structural Engineering

The basic knowledge that will be required to effectively follow the membrane course lectures are the general principles of physics, i.e. static and dynamics which include mechanics of materials and theory of structures. These generally deal with the nature and type of forces on bodies or structures e.g. tension, compression, shear etc, linear and nonlinear analysis, conditions of equilibrium, material properties, stress, displacements and so on. The Introductory Course will take place in the week from 12.03.2007 to 18.03.2007 - one week prior to the active period of the master program - and intends to bring all students on the same level as described above.


The different modules require different kinds of examination like written examinations, seminar papers, projects and presentations. All examinations are in English language only. Any further regulations are stated in the conditions of study of the master course “Membrane Structures”.

Academic Degree

After successful termination of the study the graduate receives the academic degree “Master of Engineering” (M.Eng.) in Membrane Structures issued by the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.


The admission requirements are as follows:
•Bachelor or Master degree in Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying, or comparable academic programs of a minimum number of 6 semester study period
•One year of professional experience
•Certificate of language skills (TOEFL or IELTS is not necessary)
•Statement and description of work including drawings

Admission Process

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Tuition fees

The following list of fees has been agreed for the 2006 enrollment.
It might happen due to different external circumstances that the amount of fees changes for future enrollment periods.

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Please ensure that the additional fee for the bank transfer is paid at your home credit institution.

Active Week

The first active period is scheduled in the week from 19.03.2007 to 25.03.2007. The Introductory Course will be held in the week before.

Advice and Application

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Nadine Defee
[email protected]

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