A tensegrity is a pin-jointed structure composed of isolated compressive members supported by an interconnected network of tensile members, which respectively bear compressive and tensile prestress. This study focuses on its unique feature of stiffness variability induced by the change of the member length, in which the overall structural behavior to an external force varies from a hard and elastic phase to a soft and compliant phase. In this paper, a small-sized tensegrity structure in the form of a truncated octahedron consisting of 12 compressive members and 36 tensile members was designed and fabricated, in which coiled nylon strings were installed as heat-induced contractive actuators replacing four of its tensile members to demonstrate the significant variability of the structural stiffness. Morphing under gravity due to the contraction of the actuators was observed, and the static behavior of the tensegrity under an applied external force was experimentally quantified to verify the large variability of the structural stiffness.

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