Tensegrity in AWE
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Oct. 17, 2019                 Dave Santos

Re: Universal Tensegrity Identification in Kites and Kite Networks

Here is Rolf's old conceptual overview of air-compression based structural technology leading to tensairity, that does not quite make the wild jump of foreseeing wind ram-air inflated megascale structure. Tensairity as a distinct meme seems to be waning in search results. As noted before, stick-battened inflated tensairic structures date back at least to the 50s Sled Kite and 90s NASA Tech Briefs literature.

Pressure Induced Stability:

From Pneumatic Structures to Tensairity®

Rolf H. Luchsinger, Mauro Pedretti, and Andreas Reinhard
Oct. 17, 2019                Dave Santos

Re: Universal Tensegrity Identification in Kites and Kite Networks

Tensarity played a strong role in Rolf's early AWE work, as the primary academic advocate of the field, but he has left it behind for lack of advantage, surely under complex limiting factors reviewed here in the past.

The splinted-tube Morse Sled has been identified as a close "Tensairity" kite case. Its scaling limit is beset by splint-spar square-cube mass in non-scaling most-probable wind velocity. Thus splinted kites only scale fairly well to ~20m2, and the best-of-breed ~2M2 Kayakite marks the current MS scaling sweet spot, where splint square-cube mass is not a highly limiting factor.

The radical ultimate Tensegrity scaling prediction offered here is that even minimal Tensairity splinting is too much non-buoyant mass (and complication) to scale vastly against pure air compression. Tensairity as such will remain scale-limited along historical lines. For example, Zeppelin style airships can be seen as splinted envelopes, but they needed hangers and storm avoidance to survive extended service. New designs and materials will only moderately extend spar scale. In theory, pure ram air compression of soft structure will scale to >10km high and planet-wide.

Rod and CB's tensegrity AWES transmissions are close to an effective sparred scaling limit, at just a few tens of meters long and few hundred watts capacity.
Oct. 17, 2019                  Dave Santos

Universal Tensegrity Identification in Kites and Kite Networks

Soft kites acquire adequate structural stiffness by air compression opposed by membrane tension. Bulk compression force extends all the way to the ground and is opposed by tether tension. Kite integrations of structural compression and tension indicate the principle of inherent Tensegrity.

Early iconic tensegrity sculptures were seen somewhat as freak novelties, but over the decades, tensegrity is being found in biological structures and many mechanical cases. We had previously identified tensegrity in solid sparred kites like the Delta. Now we can see the principle as apparently universal. Even a dead-weight construction is tensegrity, with gravity as the tensile force.

The remaining question in AWE is what form of tensegritic compression is superior, spars or air. kPower proposes air-compression wins, by effectively neutral buoyancy.
wiki Tensegrity 
Oct. 17, 2019                       Joe Faust

Struts of tensairity beams (splinted air beams) within tensegrity structures may well have effective roles within AWE.