Super-light pearl-chain arch vaults

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Arch vaults are known as optimal and impressive structures, but due to their curved shapes they are extremely costly to produce in countries, where the cost of labor is high. By means of super-light pearl-chain technology arch vaults can be constructed from equal plane prefabricated elements, which are assembled on the erection site by means of post-tensioning and lifted in place in buildings and bridges. The super-light SL-deck element is developed by the company Abeo Ltd and The Technical University of Denmark for plane floor structures in buildings. However, this deck element is designed in such a way that it is also applicable as basic elements for super-light pearl-chain vaults. Machines and software have been developed for automatic mass production of the elements, and the first factory has started production in Denmark in 2014 delivering SL-deck elements for a variety of building projects. This means that the basic elements have become affordable and arch vaults can now be applied at a very low cost and much cheaper than ever before. The new technology is therefore capable of re-introducing the arch vault in construction. The application of SLdecks means that the advantages of these elements are incorporated in the vault. This means that the structure can sustain 4 hours standard fire. That it has a very high level of sound insulation, efficient sound damping properties, optimized production, a low production of CO2 that has already given rise to several awards, and easy transport of plane elements instead of what is known from curved voluminous elements. The paper describes the first full-scale test of an arch vault made of SL-deck elements demonstrating the principle, documenting the load-bearing capacity, and solving a number of details needed in order to create vaults in practice. Considerations and plans are presented for present and future applications of the new technology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium
Number of pages8
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe annual IASS Symposium and the 6th Latin-American Symposium on Tension Structures: Shells, Membranes and Spatial Structures: Footprints - Brasilia, Brazil
Duration: 15 Sep 201419 Sep 2014


ConferenceThe annual IASS Symposium and the 6th Latin-American Symposium on Tension Structures
Internet address


  • Arch vaults
  • Light concrete
  • Prestressing


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