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# TENSEGRITY

You see models around here which arethese compression members do not touch each other, and if you try them, youll find that these are flexible cables between them. They are not stiff little wires, and they are not rodsthey are literally completely flexible threads. And they are high-tensile threadsdacronso they will not stretch. But we see then, a complex of compression struts that do not touch each other, and the only thing that is continuous is the tension. Now, I became very fascinated in my early days of getting into structures and actually building things, and particularly dealing with boats and the very great strength of the rigging and strength of your ship compared to the kind strength that is usually exhibited in houses. And the differentiating of the rigging of a ship into the compressional spars and the tensional cables and stays, halyards, all the things you operate the ship with. So, Id like to think a little about any structural system. We introduced those words yesterday, so now you know what Im talking about there. We find that there is in the structural systemit is a complex of energy events interacting with one another to produce a stable pattern; but some of them were trying to explode and some of them were trying to come togetherescape the system, and others were containing the system. And, I find then, this phenomenon, compression and tension, that is always and only co-existent. I think lots of people say, I have just a compression member. Well, their compression member is at the high tide of a compressional aspect. It does have a great deal of tension in it, and we say, I have a pure tension memberthats not so. Youll find that tension is also co-existent with compression. To make that clear to you, Im going to then point out to you, for instance, I take a piece of rope, Its very flexible, and the only way that it can give you any dimensional positioning stability would be when you have it tensed. So we take this piece of rope in our hands and start tensing it. And the tighter I pull it, the more vigorously I pull it, the tauter the rope becomes. When we say taut, it means, its girth begins to contract. Thatsso as a consequence of my tensing it in this directionpulling on it this way, it is contracting this waythat is, its girth is getting lessits getting harder, youll find it tighter and tighter. That is, the more I pull it, the more it goes into compression in a plane at 90 degrees from where Im pulling it. I find that when I take a number of rodssteel rods, and I found that they are very flexibleif I push it this way, they want to bend. Im going to take a bundle of steel rods an eighth of an inch in diameter. They are four feet long, so that they are so long that they are very slender, and readily bend if I push on the ends, towards each other. They are all the same diameter, and I am going to bundle them together in parallel one to another, a whole lot of them. We find two of them will come into contact. Ive made cross section thru them, they come into contact like that, and now they cant get any closer to one other. They are actually tangent. A third one will nest in top of the twoit makes it a triangle. I find that I can get six around one making the hexagon form. We went into that
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