Tensegric Shell Behavior

by Oren Vilnay, Prof.; Dept. of Civ. and Struct. Engrg., Univ. College, Cardiff, England,
Siong S. Soh, Grad. Student; Dept. of Civ. and Struct. Engrg., Univ. College, Cardiff, England,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 8, Pg. 1831-1845

Document Type: Journal Paper


Tensegric shells are composed of cable or membrane envelopes prestressed by lengthening properly arranged bars connected at both of their ends to the envelope and not touching each other. The prestressing stabilizes the shell and induces tensile forces in the envelope and compression in the bars. The tensegric shells do not comprise a continuous rigid supporting element. The advantage of using tensegric shells for temporary and permanent structure is due to their easy assembly and erection. The nature of the bar arrangement in tensegric shells is shown. The stability criteria of a tensegric shell are formulated, and the effect of prestressing the envelope by lengthening some of the bars is examined. The analysis of the shell geometrical distortion due to prestressing is formulated. The effect of external load applied to the structure is investigated. It is shown that the effect of external load on the geometrical configuration of the shell depends on the type of the shell. External load applied to some types of shell causes too large geometrical distortion, whereas the distortion of other types is due to the elasticity of its members only. Different types of tensegric shells are analyzed as numerical examples.

Subject Headings: Cables | Prestressing | Building envelope | Geometrics | Distortion (structural) | Load factors | Membranes | Tension members

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