A design methodology for high pressure, inflatable structures is proposed. The inflatable structure may be partially confined inside large diameter conduits and tunnels. The design addresses the main structural requirements of the system, namely, fabric strength, geometric stability, and axial stability. The proposed design methodology is based on the concept of limit states. Load and resistance factors are identified for all the stochastic variables participating in the structural design equations. A formal methodology is used to estimate the load and resistance factors from known distributions of data for each of the stochastic variables. The concepts of basis values, coverage, and confidence are used along with the analytical treatment necessary to estimate the load and resistance factors. The analysis is applied to the cases of Normal, Log-normal, and Weibull distributions of data. Material characterization and data analysis are presented for fabric strength and friction coefficient between the inflatable and the confining conduit material. The system reliability is also evaluated.

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Published on 01/01/2013

DOI: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2013.01.011
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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