Enabling & Support

Deployable tensegrity structure

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology
578 - Abstract:
The European Space Agency (ESA) together with an SME and academies, has developed a deployable tensegrity structure with an diminished deployment failure risk. This technology can be used in communications applications such as antennas, for energy harvesting purposes as solar arrays structures, aquaculture structures or civil engineering deployable structures. Licence agreement collaboration is sought.

Description of the offer:

Description

The present invention relates to a deployable tensegrity structure. Tensegrity is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components, such as rigid bars or struts (in compression), linked together by a continuous net of cables or tendons (in tension), in such a way that the rigid bars or struts do not touch each other.

The proposed structure comprises, in the deployed state, a ring shaped support structure around a longitudinal axis which comprises:

  • a first flexible tension member defining a first contour of said ring shape and a second flexible tension member defining a second contour of said ring.
  • a first group of rigid compression members extending between said first and second contours ,one end of each rigid compression member of the first group being mounted on the first contour whereas the other end is not mounted on a contour and a second group of rigid compression members extending between said first and second contours, one end of each rigid compression member of the second group being mounted on the second contour whereas the other end is not mounted on a contour. These first and second groups of rigid compression members are arranged with a repetitive crossing pattern around the ring.
  • a first plurality of flexible tension members linking each end of a compression member mounted on one of said contours to an end of another compression member which is not mounted on one of said contours and, a second plurality of flexible tension members linking each end of a compression member which is not mounted on a contour to an end of another compression member which is also not mounted on a contour.

The deployment can be achieved by means of spring-based actuation system, housed in the compression members. During deployment the length of the flexible tension members outside the rigid compression members decreases. Once the deployment is achieved, latching devices inside the rigid members lock the flexible members in their final position.

Innovations and advantages of the offer:

The invention proposes a tensegrity deployable structure which is light, stable and reliable, especially when its deployment is considered.

An advantage to use a tensegrity structure is to diminish the risk of failure of the deployment. In non-tensegrity structures, the joints between two rigid bars or struts raise the failure risks.

Domain of Application:

  • Civil engineering
  • Satellite technology systems
  • Aquaculture
  • Solar/Thermal energy
  • Satellite ground
  • Solar energy
  • Photovoltaic solar
  • Agriculture, foresty. fishing…
  • Building construction.

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