Six decades ago the golden age for the airships – succeeded by airplanes – seemed to have died forever. But the global market and ecological needs require the search for new forms of transportation. Currently, a new generation of airships (helium filled, carbon fibre structure, length 260 m), the CargoLifter CL-160 is prepared. This airship allows transporting a pay-load of 160t over a distance of up to 10’000 km with a speed of 80-120 km/h.
In the middle of 1997 the CargoLifter AG commissioned the design for an airship hangar in Germany to house two new airships. The site is an airfield in Brand, about 50 km south of Berlin. With a span of 210 m, a height of 107 m and a length of 363 m it will be the largest hall in Germany. Currently, the detailed design is taking place and most of the building structure should be ready in 1999.
The structural concept distinguishes two main parts of the building. The central part is of a cylindrical shape consisting of five steel arches at 35 m centres – each of the four bays being covered with a textile fabric – and at both ends of the building are the doors which consist of two fixed and six moving elements. Both doors form a semi-circle in plan and a quarter-segment of a circle in elevation. The shape of the building is oriented closely on the clearance diagram for two airships. In addition, this solution is suitable to avoid excessive wind turbulence. The structure has been designed using steel grade S355.
The arches of the cylindrical part have a structural height of 8 m and span over 225 m. The top chords (diameter 559 mm) are at 3.441 m centres and the bottom chords (559 mm) at 2.0 m centre. All the chords of the truss-arch are brace-connected to each other by diagonals (355 mm) and posts (273 mm), with the exception of the two bottom-chords; these are connected by only straight members (355 mm) at 4.135 m, forming a Vierendeel-system.