Optimizing compressive load capacity for differing tensegrity geometries

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Computers and Structures


Tensegrity structures present new possibilities to the field of structural engineering, owing to their ability to efficiently distribute compressive loads associated with their non-orthogonal design. Previous research has shown that when pretensioned, tensegrities exhibit higher resistance to compressive loading. However, over-tensioning can have adverse effects, reducing the tensegrities overall resistance to compressive loading. The geometry of a tensegrity affects how the structure reacts to loading, and the prestress and loading can concurrently affect geometry. This paper uses genetic algorithms to optimize the pretension loads in the cables of a tensegrity to deliver the highest overall vertical load capacity. The results are applied to determine the ultimate load-carrying capacity of tensegrities under a compressive load and determine the optimal aspect ratio at which this is achieved. By optimizing the pretension, the tensegrity can withstand compressive loads up to six times those that have been previously reported in literature.

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