University of California Berkeley,
Keywords: artificial muscles, carbon nanotubes, flexible systems, tensegrity structures
Summary:Tensegrity structures characterized by self-equilibrium and super-stability are space structures, which due to their properties are of interest to architects and civil engineers. This paper reviews the possible usage of carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers as the main cables in the design of tensegrity structures. The main aim of this research is to ascertain new ways of building extremely lightweight, durable, and customizable tensegrity wall systems. CNT fibers are a very promising candidate for the building material for such structures, due to their high mechanical strength, lightweightedness, corrosion and oxidation resistance, and the possibility to act as an artificial muscle. Researches show that implementing CNT fibers as the main cables of tensegrity structures provides advancement of lightweightedness, structural strength, and multi-functionality via customization of the structure. It was found that CNT fiber-based tensegrity wall structures could be useful in applications to real-world designs of novel engineering objects; specifically, objects in which lightweightedness, corrosion resistance, flexibility, high mechanical strength and customization are the key factors. These objects might eventually be deployed for a wide spectrum of situations, from post-disaster shelters or objects located in harsh climatic conditions to perhaps even extraterrestrial habitats.