Joint Friction during Deployment of a Near-Full-Scale Tensegrity Footbridge

Ann C. Sychterz, Ian F.C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most deployable structures, such as operable roofs and masts, move over one degree of freedom. This paper describes a structure that involves loosely coupled movement over several degrees of freedom. Analysis models of these structures are typically inaccurate. A source of inaccuracy is joint friction. Static and kinetic friction are studied experimentally and analytically. Simulations have been modified to account for these effects, and two methods are used to quantify friction effects. Friction has a significant effect on the movement of the tensegrity structure. Of two candidate parameters, cable tension and interior cable angle, cable angle is the factor that best characterizes friction effects. Values of static and kinetic friction coefficients are not significantly different in this context, and this leads to a reduction in the complexity of the friction model for simulation. Including friction effects in analysis decreases the difference between simulations and tests. Lastly, strut elements of the tensegrity structure are most critically affected by friction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04017081
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Deployable structures
  • Friction modeling
  • Full-scale testing
  • Structural control
  • Tensegrity structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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