LIGHTWEIGHT WORKS
structures for our sustainable planet

RESEARCH

Pneumatic Hybrid Structure

A prototypical, quick deployable, temporary event structure.

Inflatable structures bring great value to the demand for temporary, covered and protected event space. Space efficient in storage and transport, quick to deploy and simply fun to use, inflatable solutions have been explored since the early 1950’s.

Experience demonstrates clearly that inflatables do not manage wind pressures above a certain threshold, creating folds in the membrane that progress into structural collapse. An undesirable result that prevents greater everyday use of these structures.

The research we are conducting at LIGHTWEIGHT WORKS is how to overcome this point of failure in a manner that is both low tech and safe. Our solution is a hybrid structure combining the strengths of pneumatics with the integration of bending active elements.

A proof of concept model built at 40% scale was tested successfully and proved that as a hybrid structure, it responds differently to a pure pneumatic structure. The low point of typical failure is postponed and there is possibility in the hybrid concept.

This provides a good basis for the next stage of development in exploration of the pneumatic hybrid structures potential.  

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