Analysis of clustered tensegrity structures using a modified dynamic relaxation algorithm

Nizar Bel Hadj Ali, Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, Ian F.C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Tensegrities are spatial, reticulated and lightweight structures that are increasingly investigated as structural solutions for active and deployable structures. Tensegrity systems are composed only of axially loaded elements and this provides opportunities for actuation and deployment through changing element lengths. In cable-based actuation strategies, the deficiency of having to control too many cable elements can be overcome by connecting several cables. However, clustering active cables significantly changes the mechanics of classical tensegrity structures. Challenges emerge for structural analysis, control and actuation. In this paper, a modified dynamic relaxation (DR) algorithm is presented for static analysis and form-finding. The method is extended to accommodate clustered tensegrity structures. The applicability of the modified DR to this type of structure is demonstrated. Furthermore, the performance of the proposed method is compared with that of a transient stiffness method. Results obtained from two numerical examples show that the values predicted by the DR method are in a good agreement with those generated by the transient stiffness method. Finally it is shown that the DR method scales up to larger structures more efficiently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-647
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Active control
  • Clustered actuation
  • Deployable structures
  • Dynamic relaxation
  • Tensegrity structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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