Deployable Structures: An Interdisciplinary Design Process

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


History reveals that architects and engineers have constantly sought new and creative structural systems. Many special systems have thus evolved, namely: deployable structures, tensegrity, tensioned-membrane and other unconventional systems. Deployable structures find use in terrestrial architecture and outer-space applications. Disasterrelief and other emergency shelters need minimal storage space and rapid assembly on site. Temporary events such as market spaces and Worlds' Fairs have similar requirements. Space explorations require compact and rapidly deployable assemblies; these include solar arrays, antennas, reflectors, among others. Beyond these applications, there is also excitement and inspiration that deployable geometries offer to artists, industrial designers, mathematicians, and biologists. This paper emphasizes the need for interdisciplinary design thinking to tap the creative and intellectual potential from various disciplines for the design of deployable structures. The paper desscribes why knowledge from biology, mathematics, material science and engineering together can inform design thinking effectively. Select assignments and projects are included as examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017
Event124th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Columbus, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 28 2017


  • Deployable
  • Disaster-relief
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Outer-space
  • Project-based learning
  • Structures
  • Tensegrity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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