Ongoing research projects


Ongoing research projects in iMMC (August 2022)

This a short description of research projects which are presently under progress in iMMC.
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List of projects related to: tensegrity

Optimization of tensegrity bridges based on morphological indicators
Researcher: Jonas Feron
Supervisor(s): Pierre Latteur

Tensegrity structures are composed of struts and tendons in such way that the compression is “floating” inside a net of tension in a stable self-equilibrated state. Although tensegrity forms have inspired artists and architects for many years, there exist very few real construction projects across the world. The main reasons are, among others, the complex construction processes and the lack of design guidelines. This research, performed in collaboration with the company BESIX, aims at proving the feasibility of a first pure tensegrity bridge around the world.
When the structure is externally loaded, large displacements occur and require non-linear calculation before reaching an equilibrium. Indeed, in tensegrity structures more than in conventional ones, form and forces are intrinsically correlated. This phenomenon is due to their intern mechanism, unless appropriate pre-stressing is applied. An allowable stiffness can be possible, but at a certain material cost, which in turn justifies the relevance of the optimization of the weight.
While designing a tensegrity structure, optimization and form finding are often great challenges. Indeed, the large amount of parameters (span, height, shape, cross sections, materials, loads, pre-stress, etc) makes the search for the structure with the best performances cumbersome. A solution to this problem is to reduce the number of degrees of freedom to consider, by grouping them into dimensionless numbers, the morphological indicators.
In 2014, R.E. Skelton et al were pioneers in using a similar approach for optimizing planar tensegrity bridges uniformly loaded. In 2017, P. Latteur et al adapted the morphological indicators methodology, used so far to optimize mainly trusses and arches, to 3D non-linear and pre-stressed lattice structures such as tensegrity structures. In 2019, J. Feron et al used this methodology to investigate the performances of different 3D forms of uniformly loaded tensegrity footbridges.
This research focus on the required checks to ensure the practicality, the constructability and the economical and structural efficiency of a pure tensegrity footbridge thanks to non linear finite element analysis, experimental validation, parametric design, prestress optimization and dynamic behavior assessment