Dynamics of Tensegrity Systems

  • Maurício C. de Oliveira
  • Anders S. Wroldsen


Buckminister Fuller [1] coined the word tensegrity as a conjunction of the two words tension and integrity [3, 6, 10]. The artist Kenneth Snelson was the first to build a three-dimensional tensegrity structure [9], which he perfected throughout the years, such as the sculptures in Fig. 1. Tensegrity components are very simple elements, often just sticks and strings. Our interest is in engineering structures. The structures of interest have a large number of compressive parts (rods) and tensile parts (strings). On a class 1 tensegrity system, such as the sculptures in Fig. 1, there is no contact between the rigid bodies (rods). Integrity, or as we would say, stability, is provided by the network of tensile members (strings). No individual member is subject to torques even when the complete structure bends. In a class k tensegrity system, we allow as many as k rigid bodies (rods) to be in contact through ball joints. This last requirement preserves the ability of class k tensegrity systems to bend without any member experiencing torque.


Generalize Force Lagrangian Function Ball Joint Tensegrity Structure Closed Kinematic Chain 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurício C. de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Anders S. Wroldsen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Ships and Ocean StructuresNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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