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Tensegrity system dynamics based on finite element method

by   Shuo Ma, et al.

This study presents a finite element analysis approach to non-linear and linearized tensegrity dynamics based on the Lagrangian method with nodal coordinate vectors as the generalized coordinates. In this paper, nonlinear tensegrity dynamics with and without constraints are first derived. The equilibrium equations in three standard forms (in terms of nodal coordinate, force density, and force vectors) and the compatibility equation are also given. Then, we present the linearized dynamics and modal analysis equations with and without constraints. The developed approach is capable of conducting the following comprehensive dynamics studies for any tensegrity structures accurately: 1. Performing rigid body dynamics with acceptable errors, which is achieved by setting relatively high stiffness for bars in the simulation. 2. Simulating FEM dynamics accurately, where bars and strings can have elastic or plastic deformations. 3. Dealing with various kinds of boundary conditions, for example, fixing or applying static/dynamic loads at any nodes in any direction (i.e., gravitational force, some specified forces, or arbitrary seismic vibrations). 4. Conducting accurate modal analysis, including natural frequency and corresponding modes. Three examples, a double pendulum, a cantilever truss with external force, and a double prism tensegrity tower, are carefully selected and studied. The results are compared with rigid body dynamics and FEM software ANSYS. This study provides a deep insight into structures, materials, performances, as well as an interface towards integrating control theories.


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