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Tensegrity: the new biomechanics 

Tensegrity: the new biomechanics
Chapter:
Tensegrity: the new biomechanics
Author(s):

Stephen M. Levin

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199674107.003.0016
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date: 23 September 2020

Biologic structures are chaotic, non-linear, complex, and unpredictable by their very nature. The new sciences of chaos and complexity are needed to explain and understand biologic structural mechanics. Tensegrity structures have unique characteristics that parallel the structural requirements of biology. Geodesic domes are tensegrity structures and actin, the contractile element of muscle, and leukocytes are arranged as geodesic domes. Viruses are icosahedra, which are the lowest-frequency geodesic dome. Unlike Hookian structures, the mechanics of geodesic domes are non-linear. As the structure is compressed, it uniformly shrinks, increasing its internal pressure non-linearly. The heart, alveoli, bladder, arteries, and all other hollow vesicles within the body do the same. Bone, discs, muscles, and ligaments, individually and as composites, behave non-linearly. In terms of mechanics and physiology, biologic tissues behave the same way as tensegrity structures.

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