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TENSEGRITY - DIY kit for Students

In 1948 the artist, Kenneth Snels on created a sculpture called “X-Piece” which later inspired the term “tensegrity”.

In the 1960’s the artist, inventor and mathematician R. Buck minster Fuller coined the term “Tensegrity” and articulated its principals. The word tensegrity is a portmanteau from the words “tensionalintegrity”.

· It is a self-supporting and a self-correcting system

· It does not require any internal vertical or horizontal supporting structures

· It contains isolated, non-touching compression struts within a continuous tension system

Tensegrity system sare unique in that they are stabilized by continuous tension elements with discontinuous compression elements or floating compression. This is in contrast to most man-made structures which are stabilized by continuous gravitational compression. A somewhat modern-day example of this is Stonehenge which if taken into space would fall apart into its separate components and result in large rocks floatinga round. Whereas tensegrity structures maintain their shape in and out of gravity. Today tensegrity structures are mostly seen in pieces of art, bridges, domes and children’s toys. The world sla gest tensegrity structure is currently the Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane, Australia.

Whatif it Collapses?

· If the structure collapses, you need to balance the whole thing again. Keep making small adjustments to get theperfect balance.

· Do not permanently glue the strings until the structure can hold up without collapsing! If you put an object on top,don’t use an object that is too heavy and thatwon’t break easily if it collapses.

· If your strings start stretching, your structure will collapse or tilt when you try and balance something on the top. Make sure your stringhas no stretch in it. If your strings stretch you will need to replacethem with a string thathas no stretch or give toit.


Tensegrity is the pattern that results when push and pull have a win-win relationship with each other. The pull is continuous and the push is discontinuous. The continuous pull is balanced by the discontinuous push producing integrity of tension-compression.Push and pull seem common and ordinary in our experience of life that we think little of the se forces and one might assume they are opposites.

Thesede monstration look like they’re just floating in the air, but they’re actually a clever demonstration of the principle of tensegrity. The principle of tensegrity originated in the nineteen fifties and is still used in the design of modern buildings and structures. The ancient pyramids are a classic example of this form of building. By creating a larger base and stacking taller and taller, a structurecan be created. Tense grityi sprecisely the opposite—rather than focusing on a heavy foundation,tensegrity structures work through tension.



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