Damage Mitigation of Near-Full-Scale Deployable Tensegrity Structure through Behavior Biomimetics

Ann C. Sychterz, Ian F.C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Opportunities to explore new structural behavior are made possible by incorporating sensors and actuators in civil-engineering infrastructure. Using analogies, structural behavior can be improved through the mimicry of a living organism. This is called biomimetics, and its study inspires functional goals for structures. While most biomimetic research focuses on geometric forms, this paper describes a study of how behavior goals of active structures can be inspired by nature. Tensegrity structures, systems of struts and cables in which mechanisms are stabilized by self-stress, are convenient test structures for active control and adaptation. In this situation, adaptation involves changing the damaged structure to satisfy design requirements as closely as possible. Although adaptation improves structural behavior, the prior state of the structure cannot always be fully restored to satisfy design requirements. Newly enhanced algorithms for control resulting cases for reuse exhibit the behavior-biomimetic characteristics of learning through reducing future execution time. Advanced active-control algorithms improve damage-mitigation performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04019181
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive structures
  • Behavior biomimetics
  • Damage mitigation
  • Full-scale testing
  • Tensegrity structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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