Parametric design methodology and visualization for single curvature tensegrity structures
Tensegrity structures are a special type of tensile structures consisting of cables (in tension) and bars (in compression) that can offer an alternative to conventional space covering structures. Geometric complexity inherent to these structures has posed a significant challenge in their geometric and structural design and limited their applications in buildings. This research is intended to develop a parametric design methodology for single-curvature tensegrity networks to address problems in their configuration and analysis. An important feature of the methodology is the development of an integrative visualization environment to assist in their form exploration and performance. The methodology involves a) the development of algorithms to address the geometry of vaulted configurations that generate models of initial geometry b) integrating design algorithms to structural analysis and development of models of pre-stressed geometry, and c) importing the pre-stressed geometry model into a CAD environment. Specifically, 3D coordinates of a preliminary tensegrity structure are generated by the design algorithms, automatically processed by an existing analysis code, and visualized in CAD environment by the graphical interface. Resulting 3D solid models of the structure can then be used by architects and engineers to validate the design performance of preliminary configurations under consideration. The morphological variation considered in this study is that of vaulted configuration composed of tensegrity units of square-base with bar to cable connection.