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Vol. 44 (2003) No. 1 April n. 141

A Novel Approach to Physical Modelling – Formfinding of Tensegrity Systems

< Table of Contents for Vol. 44 (2003) No. 1 April n. 141
  • Journal Name: Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (J. IASS)
  • ISSN: (Electronic Version) 1996-9015
  • ISSN: (Print Version) 1028-365X
  • Issue: Vol. 44 (2003) No. 1 April n. 141
  • Pages: 15-24
  • Title: A Novel Approach to Physical Modelling – Formfinding of Tensegrity Systems
  • Author(s): O. Popovic and K. Sakantamis
  • Keywords: Tensegrity Systems, Formfinding, Tensegrity Polyhedrons.
The invention of Tensegrity Systems dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century [1]. Although known for a long time, this structural form is rarely used in real projects to the present date. The limited use of the system is mainly due to the lack of analytical as well as practical tools required for the design and prediction of its performance. This paper introduces a new practical tool, a novel physical modelling technique to assist designers having a non-mathematical background in the creative formfinding of tensegrities. This new approach is based on the initial employment of a dense tensional network around islanded compression members and the progressive deduction of tensional members, until the system reaches its pure form, least tensional members required for the existence of static equilibrium, or in other cases a stable form. The paper introduces the modelling technique through its application in three case studies. The case studies were selected so as to investigate the advantages that the method has, along with its limitations. The paper concludes with a discussion on how the proposed modelling technique can assist both architects and engineers towards a better understanding of Tensegrities, while promoting the more frequent use of the system.

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