Bending-Activated Tensegrity

Type: Publication
Year: 2014
Author:  Eike Schling, Rainer Barthel, André Ihde, Joram Tutsch, Sebastian Huth
Published: IASS 2015
Office: Technische Universität München, Chair of Structural Design, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Barthel

During the summer semester 2014, seven “Experimental Structures” were developed at the Chair of
Structural Design, Technische Universität München. Over the course of the semester, Sebastian Huth
designed a modular installation, “Form Follows Tension” (Fig. 1), which combines the principles of
active bending, tensegrity and structural membranes. This “Bending-Activated Tensegrity”-structure
was redeveloped for the 2015 IASS SYMPOSIUM CONTEST and built at a large scale of
approximately 6 x 6 m. Elastically bent glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP) rods were used in
combination with PVC membranes and polyester belts to form a pre-stressed and self-stabilizing
This paper covers all aspects of the planning process including design, material testing, FEM
simulation and method statement:
– Prelimenary design and redevelopment for larger scale
– Theoretical analysis of the relationship between form, self-stress and scale
– Physical tests to validate GRP properties
– Structural simulation and iterative form-finding, including multiple building steps using FEM
– Modal analysis and improvement of first eigenform
– Challenges of assembly and measures of redundancy
The insights gained throughout this process are finally evaluated to form a perspective on future

About eikeschling

Dr.-Ing. | Architect BYAK Assistant Professor in Architectural Structures The University of Hong Kong

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