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Barrel & Groin Vaults

Groin Vault & Barrel Vault Ceilings

A barrel vault, also known as a tunnel vault or a wagon vault, is an architectural detail formed by the extrusion of a single curve along a given distance. The curves are typically circular in shape, lending a semi-cylindrical appearance to the total design.

Barrel Vault

As with all arch-based constructions, there is an outward thrust generated against the walls underneath a barrel vault. There are several mechanisms for absorbing this thrust. One is to make the walls exceedingly thick and strong – this is a primitive and sometimes unacceptable method. A more elegant method is to build two or more vaults parallel to each other; the forces of their outward thrusts will thus negate each other. This method was most often used in construction of churches, where several vaulted naves ran parallel down the length of the building. However, the outer walls of the outermost vault would still have to be quite strong or reinforced by buttressing. The third and most elegant mechanism to resist the lateral thrust was to create an intersection of two barrel vaults at right angles, thus forming a groin vault.

You looking to add a barrel vault to your next project?

First Class BP can help.  See additional information on glass fiber reinforced gypsum building material to learn more about material specification on our barrel vaults and groin ceilings.

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