Friday, August 14, 2015

What Is Tensegrity


Every once in a while I am captivated by a a new word and it won't let me go until I find out what it means. One such word is tensegrity.

I came across it in the Aug. 14, 2015 NASA New Release #15-170, titled NASA Awards Grants for Technologies That Could Transform Space Exploration

Below is a short excerpt from that article:

NASA has selected eight university-led proposals to study innovative, early stage technologies that will address high-priority needs of America's space program.

The selected proposals for unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies will investigate challenges in the areas of solar cell operations at high temperatures, atmospheric entry model development, synthetic biology applications for space exploration and dynamic tensegrity-based space structures.

Tensegrity is a property of structures that employs continuous tension and discontinuous compression to produce exceptionally strong structures for their mass.

One of those proposal:
Dynamics and Control of Tensegrity Space Manipulators
James Forbes of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


I did some more research on the subject and was fascinated with the possibilities of the concept.

Wikipedia says :"Tensegrity, tensional integrity or floating compression, is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially."

The term tensegrity was coined by Buckminster Fuller in the 1960s as a portmanteau of "tensional integrity". The other denomination of tensegrity, floating compression, was used mainly by Kenneth Snelson.

Tensegrity Bridge

Tensegrity Tower

Floating City

That's all I have to say about that... for now.

Perhaps, via NASA or future development, more might be reported on this fascinating subject.

Or not.


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