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

Abstract
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
structure.
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
research.

About eikeschling

Architect - Computational Design Assistant - Chair of Structural Design Technische Universität München

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