Meta-tensegrity: Design of a tensegrity prism with metal rubber

Yanhong Ma, Qicheng Zhang, Yousef Dobah, Fabrizio Scarpa*, Fernando Fraternali, Robert E. Skelton, Dayi Zhang, Jie Hong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
175 Downloads (Pure)


A tensegrity structure involves the presence of elements withstanding pure compression, and others under pure tension only. Metal rubber is introduced into a tensegrity prism strut to create a mechanical metamaterial with energy absorption and tuneable dynamic properties. In this work we describe the design and development of the meta-tensegrity structure with particular emphasis on the evaluation of parameters such as the structural size, the metal rubber stiffness, the initial internal force and the external compression load. Prototypes of tensegrity prisms with and without metal rubber inserts have been assembled and subjected to quasi-static loading. The model used to design the meta tensegrity prism has been then modified to take into account specific manufacturing and internal dissipation mechanisms typical of this configuration. The updated model provides a better comparison with the experimental results. Both the theoretical and experimental data show that the introduction of the metal rubber within the tensegrity configuration contributes to improve significantly the energy absorption, and to reduce the stiffness of the whole tensegrity structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-657
Number of pages14
JournalComposite Structures
Early online date31 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2018


  • Mechanical metamaterial
  • Metal rubber
  • Nonlinear mechanics
  • Tensegrity

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