Reconfigurable Modular Bar Structure
SourceJournal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
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Structural modularity and reconfiguration allow for enhanced flexibility and adaptability to changing functional, environmental or loading conditions, contributing thus to a sustainable built up environment. The current paper refers to a temporary spatial structure of planar modular bar linkages positioned in parallel and interconnected. The linkages consist of hinge-connected beams and a secondary system of struts and continuous cables with adjustable length. Identical and synchronous reconfigurations of the planar systems provide respective shapes of the spatial structure. In achieving the transformations, the effective 4-bar approach is implemented via cable-driven actuation, necessitating only two linear actuators on the planar systems supports. Following a brief description of the reconfiguration approach and related motion planning principles, a presentation of the fabrication and assembly of a small-scale prototype model and its experimental testing leads to a discussion on related mechanical design and reconfiguration approach issues. By extent, a Finite-Element Analysis of the spatial structure conducted for a specific transformation sequence followed from an initial to a target configuration provides further insight into the system's nonlinear load-bearing behavior.