Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Sunday, June 11, 2023


I was at my neighbor Jerry's the other day. You may know him as the farmer in the Farmer and Adele as they used to open the yellow house on my street once a year and show off their amazing craftwork. 

Jerry is a retired math teacher and very smart guy but also very handy and crafty. He constructs these incredible shadow constructions that have to be seen to be believed! Very creative man.

Anyway I was there the other day and he showed me this wood and dental floss contraption and asked me how I supposed it stayed suspended?

Great question? So how does the upper portion stay suspended in space? 

The floss lines were not solid or especially taught.

I told him that I gave up but assumed that it was under compression.

Which I think is correct but I still don't know how you would physically assemble one and have it achieve stasis?

I looked it up on Wikipedia. The concept was originally formulated by a Latvian named Karlis Johansons in 1921. The term Tensegrity was given to the construction later by Buckminster Fuller.

Tensegritytensional integrity or floating compression is a structural principle based on a system of isolated components under compression inside a network of continuous tension, and arranged in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other while the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially.[1]

The term was coined by Buckminster Fuller in the 1960s as a portmanteau of "tensional integrity".

One would have to assume that this principle can scale to any size.

Many real world applications have already been constructed.

The tensegrity can also assume a myriad of geometric shapes. I think I need to construct one of these.

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