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Reconfiguration method of tensegrity units using infinitesimal mechanisms

Andrés González (College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)
Ani Luo (College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)
Dongyan Shi (College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 18 June 2019

Issue publication date: 15 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a reconfiguration strategy for actuated tensegrity structures. The main idea is to use the infinitesimal mechanisms of the structure to generate a path along which the tensegrity can change its shape while maintaining the equilibrium.

Design/methodology/approach

Combining the force density method with a marching procedure, the solution to the equilibrium problem is given by a set of differential equations. Beginning from an initial stable position, the algorithm calculates a small displacement until a new stable configuration is reached, and recurrently repeats the process during a given interval of time.

Findings

By means of three numerical simulations and their respective experimental example, the efficacy of this algorithm for reconfiguring the well-known three-bar tensegrity prism along different directions is shown. The proposed method shows efficiency only for small changes of string length. Further work should consider the application of this method to more complex tensegrity structures.

Originality/value

The advantage of this reconfiguration method is its simplicity for finding new stable positions for tensegrity structures, and the fact that it doesn’t need the information of the material of the structure for the computations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) [grant numbers 51605111, 51675114]. A. G. acknowledges A. Micheletti for his remarks on the marching procedure.

Citation

González, A., Luo, A. and Shi, D. (2019), "Reconfiguration method of tensegrity units using infinitesimal mechanisms", Engineering Computations, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 1934-1949. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-09-2018-0430

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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