Valerie Tsao: Katsouleas NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program
Tensegrity: The Art of Engineering (Expected to continue until graduation)
Durham, North Carolina
Summary: Since being introduced to the concept of tensegrities my freshman Spring semester, I have become increasingly more fascinated with these minimalistic “islands of compression in…sea[s] of tension.” Starting with the fundamental concepts revolving around the nature and development of these structures, I studied and analyzed their dynamic behaviors using MATLAB simulations of nonlinear mathematical models, then moved forward in deriving the relationship of Gauss’ Principle of Least Constraint (GPLC). By applying these blocks of knowledge to replicate small-scale models, I hope to eventually create original pieces of art and divulge into the intersections of practicality vs. the appreciation of underlying aesthetic.
Relation to GC Focus: The tensegrity structure has huge potential in inspiring ripple-effects of “smart” structures and introducing a method of construction that has not widely been propagated. Conducting research on how this can be used to lessen the cost and improve the efficiency of urban infrastructure has ramifying impacts on the future of what design will become.