Flexibility-based pre-stress design of tensegrity structures

Authors: Dalil Safaei, S.D., Eriksson,  , Tibert, G.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Submitted
Journal: International Journal of Solids and Structures
Year: 2010


Tensegritiy structures have been subjects of research for many years, but very few of them have been built. One major disadvantage of tensegrities compare to regular truss structures is their low stiffness. This papers aims to have a new look at the stiffness problem of tensegrity structures. Here, it is assumed that the form-finding step has been completed and the axial stiffness of the elements is known. We introduce a tool for stiffness characterization of a given tensegrity structure for different pre-stress magnitudes. Since the pre-stress has a critical influence on the stability of the structure with a role to prevent or postpone slackening, the magnitude of pre-stress of the structure exposed to large external loads and disturbances are found. Finite elements are utilized in the solution for the non-linear static analysis. The method is based on geometrical interpretation of flexibility of unconstrained nodes. Suggested concept, flexibility analysis, shows promising properties in finding flexible nodes, weak directions of structure, detection of cable elements with higher risk of going slack and better knowledge of influence of various external loads. The authors believe results of this research could help the researchers and designer of better understanding the behavior of tensegrity structures.