Tensegrity structures have remarkable configurations and are drawing the attention of architects and engineers. They possess inextensional mechanisms and self-stress states at a static equilibrium configuration under no external loads. For geometry with its nodes fixed, different connectivity patterns of the compression bars and tension cables might bring some novel tensegrity structures. Thus, form-finding is the key to designing novel tensegrity structures. Here, we develop a discrete optimization model for the form-finding and convert it into a modified traveling salesman problem (TSP). The ant colony system (ACS) is used to search for feasible solutions, where all the predetermined nodes are taken as different cities in the network. An objective function that considers the stability and the relative stiffness is developed to obtain the optimized configurations of tensegrity structures. Examples based on some regular geometries (including a hexagon and two polyhedra) and two nonregular geometries are carried out using the proposed technique. Many different configurations of the pin-jointed assemblies are transformed into interesting tensegrity structures. To verify the proposed method, some physical models are constructed and compared to the tensegrity structures obtained from the form-finding process. We conclude that this novel algorithm can be applicable to the form-finding of both regular and nonregular tensegrity structures.

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# Novel Form-Finding of Tensegrity Structures Using Ant Colony Systems

Yao Chen

,
Yao Chen

Ph.D. Candidate

School of Civil Engineering,

chenyao_seu@hotmail.com
Southeast University

, Nanjing 210096, China

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Jian Feng

,
Jian Feng

Professor

Key Laboratory of Concrete and Prestressed Concrete Structures of Ministry of Education,

fengjian@seu.edu.cn
Southeast University

, Nanjing 210096, China

; National Prestress Engineering Research Centre, Southeast University

, Nanjing 210096, China

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Yongfen Wu

Yongfen Wu

Lecturer

Institute of Command Automation,

yfwu_0916@126.com
PLA University of Science and Technology

, Nanjing 210007, China

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Yao Chen
Ph.D. Candidate

Jian Feng
Professor

Key Laboratory of Concrete and Prestressed Concrete Structures of Ministry of Education,

Southeast University

, Nanjing 210096, China

; National Prestress Engineering Research Centre, Southeast University

, Nanjing 210096, China

fengjian@seu.edu.cn

Yongfen Wu
Lecturer

Institute of Command Automation,

PLA University of Science and Technology

, Nanjing 210007, China

yfwu_0916@126.com

*J. Mechanisms Robotics*. Aug 2012, 4(3): 031001 (7 pages)

**Published Online:**May 7, 2012

Article history

Received:

May 26, 2011

Revised:

March 27, 2012

Online:

May 7, 2012

Published:

May 7, 2012

Citation

Chen, Y., Feng, J., and Wu, Y. (May 7, 2012). "Novel Form-Finding of Tensegrity Structures Using Ant Colony Systems." ASME. *J. Mechanisms Robotics*. August 2012; 4(3): 031001. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4006656

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