Degree Name

Master of Philosophy


School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering


Tensegrities are pin-jointed frameworks consisting of discontinuous compressive struts held within a tensioned cable net. Existing in a state of self-equilibrium, tensegrity structures can be found in vary-ing states of rigidity dependent on the initial pretension existing within the cables. The current state of tensegrity understanding appears comprehensive, and yet, tensegrities appear to be relegated to a class of architectural sculpture, due to the complexity associated with understanding their behaviour. This com-plexity is often attributed to the lack of application for tensegrity structures within the built environment. For this reason, this thesis aims to examine the effect of compressive loading on tensegrities, and how different pretensions, geometries and materials aid in resisting this applied loading.

A review was conducted to determine a current understanding of load bearing tensegrity structures. Through conducting this review, it was found that stiffness and load bearing capacity directly correlate with the level of applied pretension. A computer model was developed using Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper (in conjunction with K2Engineering analysis software) to confirm this result. Iterative form-finding was utilised to determine resultant geometry (dependant on initial pretensions and applied loads), which was subsequently used to obtain axial loads within each member of the tensegrity.

FoR codes (2008)

090506 Structural Engineering



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.