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Florida Space Research Program Awards Grant to Investigate Active Tensegrity Structures for Space Applications

Dr. Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Juhong Park, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, will investigate active tensegrity structures for space applications through an undergraduate summer research studio for engineering and architecture students. The studio is funded by a grant from the Florida Space Research Program and aims to introduce active structures to students, as well as provide preliminary results for the principal investigators’ research.

The general perception around structures and architecture has changed with recent advances in active structural control and computing. Through the integration of active elements, structures can now become dynamic objects capable of interacting with complex environments, a vital feature for planet exploration and base/settlement. Tensegrity is a materially and mechanically efficient system that can combine actuators with structural elements. In the studio, tensegrity systems for shape-changing and locomotion applications will be investigated using numerical simulation and physical rapid prototyping.

The proposed research will advance structural engineering, architecture and aerospace engineering, while promoting Florida leadership and enhancing Florida education and professional development of future engineers and architects. Studio work will be presented at the 2018 ASCE Earth and Space Conference.

The project is entitled, “Tensegrity Modules for Shape Control and Locomotion Through Simulation and Physical Rapid Prototyping.”

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