Funding for Transforming Campus into a Living Lab

Interest in deploying light-weight materials for engineering infrastructure has been gaining momentum over the past decades, with a focus on new materials, sustainable and innovative design, as well as low life-cycle energy. An adaptive system can change shape in response to environmental stimuli and a deployable system can be quickly installed in extreme conditions. An example of a system that can be both adaptive and deployable is a tensegrity structure, which is primarily composed of bars and cables held in a state of self-stress.

Below are some sample tensegrity structures:

a) A T3-prism [Source: Wiki Creative Commons]
b) Needle tower by Kenneth Snelson [Source: Wiki Creative Commons]
c) An adaptive, deployable structure by A. Sychterz) [Source: EPFL]

Garg Group in collaboration with SMARTI lab led by Prof. Sychterz has recently obtained funding from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) to pursue the development of a bike parking canopy that is planned to be installed adjacent to the Newmark Civil Engineering Lab Building on UIUC campus. The material of choice for this project will be an aluminum alloy which has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Structural design of the tensegrity structure will be led by Prof. Sychterz and optimization of the aluminum alloy selection will be led by Prof. Garg. 

We are excited to venture into this new field of tensegrity structures, aluminum alloys, and their potential applications for sustainable construction!