WO1992022102A1 - Foldable structures - Google Patents

Foldable structures Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1992022102A1
WO1992022102A1 PCT/GB1992/000939 GB9200939W WO9222102A1 WO 1992022102 A1 WO1992022102 A1 WO 1992022102A1 GB 9200939 W GB9200939 W GB 9200939W WO 9222102 A1 WO9222102 A1 WO 9222102A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
nodes
node
links
towards
tension
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1992/000939
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Robert Laxton John Burdon
Original Assignee
Robert Laxton John Burdon
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB9111368A priority Critical patent/GB2256444A/en
Priority to GB9111368.8 priority
Application filed by Robert Laxton John Burdon filed Critical Robert Laxton John Burdon
Publication of WO1992022102A1 publication Critical patent/WO1992022102A1/en

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01QANTENNAS, i.e. RADIO AERIALS
    • H01Q1/00Details of, or arrangements associated with, antennas
    • H01Q1/12Supports; Mounting means
    • H01Q1/1235Collapsible supports; Means for erecting a rigid antenna
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64GCOSMONAUTICS; VEHICLES OR EQUIPMENT THEREFOR
    • B64G9/00Cosmonautics not otherwise provided for
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/18Structures comprising elongated load-supporting parts, e.g. columns, girders, skeletons
    • E04B1/19Three-dimensional framework structures
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/18Structures comprising elongated load-supporting parts, e.g. columns, girders, skeletons
    • E04B1/19Three-dimensional framework structures
    • E04B1/1903Connecting nodes specially adapted therefor
    • E04B1/1906Connecting nodes specially adapted therefor with central spherical, semispherical or polyhedral connecting element
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/18Structures comprising elongated load-supporting parts, e.g. columns, girders, skeletons
    • E04B1/19Three-dimensional framework structures
    • E04B2001/1924Struts specially adapted therefor
    • E04B2001/1927Struts specially adapted therefor of essentially circular cross section
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/18Structures comprising elongated load-supporting parts, e.g. columns, girders, skeletons
    • E04B1/19Three-dimensional framework structures
    • E04B2001/1981Three-dimensional framework structures characterised by the grid type of the outer planes of the framework
    • E04B2001/1987Three-dimensional framework structures characterised by the grid type of the outer planes of the framework triangular grid
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/18Structures comprising elongated load-supporting parts, e.g. columns, girders, skeletons
    • E04B1/19Three-dimensional framework structures
    • E04B2001/199Details of roofs, floors or walls supported by the framework
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/18Structures comprising elongated load-supporting parts, e.g. columns, girders, skeletons
    • E04B1/19Three-dimensional framework structures
    • E04B2001/1996Tensile-integrity structures, i.e. structures comprising compression struts connected through flexible tension members, e.g. cables

Abstract

The drawings show a node and link module which can be assembled with similar modules to provide a foldable structure of any desired size. The module has four upper nodes (1a, 1b, 1c and 1d) and four lower nodes (2a, 2b, 2c and 2d). To assist in differentiating between the two sets of nodes, the upper nodes (1) are shown shaded. Upper node (1d) has been omitted from the figure for clarity. The node (1d) is pivotally connected by links (3) to each of the lower nodes which is adjacent to the lower node (2d) lying opposite to node (1d). Node (2d) is similarly connected by pivotal links (3) to each of the upper nodes surrounding node (1d, i.e. 1a, 1b and 1c). The structure thus presents a double tripod of considerable strength. The effect of the pivotal link connections is that the structure can be freely moved between an expanded condition and a folded condition. In the folded condition the upper nodes (1) are grouped together and the lower nodes (2) are grouped together, the two groups being spaced apart by a distance which is almost equal to the length of the links (3). The structure can be moved from the folded condition to the expanded condition by moving nodes (1) towards the nodes (2). As the nodes (1) move towards the nodes (2) the compressive force supplied by the link (3) forces the nodes (1) and the nodes (2) to spread out to the positions shown in the figure.

Description

FOLDABLE STRUCTURES
The invention relates to foldable structures. The invention has many applications, but is basically concerned with a structure which takes up very little space when folded, but can then be expanded to cover a large area or occupy a large space. One particularly important use is to provide a structure in space, for example for use as a satellite dish or space platform. Other uses will be referred to later.
The invention provides a foldable structure comprising a plurality of first nodes and a plurality of opposed second nodes, the nodes being interconnected by links pivotally attached thereto, the arrangement being such that in a folded condition the first nodes are grouped together, and the second nodes are grouped together spaced from the first nodes, but on relative movement of the first nodes towards the second nodes, the links cause the first nodes to expand outwardly from one another, and also cause the second nodes to expand outwardly from one another, substantially increasing the size of the structure, the structure also including means to limit the movement of the first nodes towards the second nodes.
Preferably, the limiting means comprises tension means connected between the first nodes and/or tension means connected between the second nodes.
The tension means may comprise cords, cables or like tension members which collapse when the nodes are moved back towards the folded condition.
Alternatively or in addition, the tension means may comprise a flexible sheet member, for example to provide a skin for the structure in the expanded condition. Means may be provided to lock the nodes together when the first nodes have reached the limit of their relative movement towards the second nodes.
The locking means may comprise tie members extending from the first nodes to the second nodes.
Each first node may be paired with an opposed second node, the nodes being mounted on a common tie member along which relative sliding movement can take place as the nodes move between their folded and expanded conditions.
Means may be provided to lock the node members in position on the tie member.
The nodes may be resiliently biased into certain positions.
Each node may have a plurality of pivot axes for the links, the axes being arranged to form the sides of a regular polygon.
Each first node may be pivotally connected by the links to each of the second nodes which is adjacent to the second node opposite to the said first node.
By way of example, specific embodiments of the invention will now be described, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which :- Figure 1 is a plan view of a component of a foldable structure according to one embodiment of the invention, one top node being omitted for clarity;
Figure 2 is a view on line II-II of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a view on line III-III of Figure 1, but showing an alternative embodiment;
Figure 4 is a perspective view of the component of Figure 1;
Figure 5 is a detailed view of one node;
Figure 6 is a plan view of the component in the folded condition;
Figure 7 is a view on line VII- VII of Figure 6;
Figure 8 is a view on line VIII- VIII of Figure 6;
Figure 9 is a perspective view of the component in the folded condition; and
Figure 10 is a diagrammatic view of an entire structure according to an embodiment of the invention.
The drawings show a node and link module which can be assembled with similar modules to provide a foldable structure of any desired size. One such structure is shown in Figure 10 and will be described in detail later. Firstly, a single module will be described in detail.
The module has four upper nodes la, lb, lc and Id and four lower nodes 2a, 2b, 2c and 2d. To assist in differentiating between the two sets of nodes, the upper nodes 1 are shown shaded. Upper node Id has been omitted from Figure 1 for clarity. The complete module is perhaps best shown in the perspective view, Figure 4.
The node Id is pivotally connected by links 3 to each of the lower nodes which is adjacent to the lower node 2d lying opposite to node Id.
Node 2d is similarly connected by pivotal links 3 to each of the upper nodes surrounding node Id, i.e. nodes la, lb and lc. The structure thus presents a double tripod of considerable strength.
In a large structure such as that shown in Figure 10, each of the upper nodes will be similarly connected to lower nodes, and each of the lower nodes will be similarly connected to upper nodes.
The effect of the pivotal link connections is that the structure can be freely moved between the expanded condition shown in Figures 1 to 4 and the folded condition shown in Figures 6 to 9. In the folded condition, the upper nodes 1 are grouped together and the lower nodes 2 are grouped together, the two groups being spaced apart by a distance which is almost equal to the length of the links 3.
The structure can be moved from the folded condition to the expanded condition by moving the nodes 1 towards the nodes 2. As the nodes 1 move towards the nodes 2, the compressive force supplied by the links 3 forces the nodes 1 and the nodes 2 to spread out to the positions shown in Figures 1 to
In the expanded condition, the structure is intended to present a relatively rigid load bearing space frame. It is therefore necessary to prevent the nodes 1 from collapsing totally onto the top of the nodes 2, and so the upper nodes 1 are interconnected by flexible tension members 4. The lower nodes are similarly interconnected by flexible tension members 5.
In the folded condition, the tension members 4 and 5 simply collapse as shown in Figures 6 to 9. As the structure expands, the tension members 4 and 5 reach the limit of their extension as shown in Figures 1 to 4, and thus limit the extent to which the nodes 1 and 2 can move towards one another.
The length of the tension members 4 and 5 is chosen dependent upon the shape and strength of the structure required. The thicker the structure, the greater will be its strength.
The tension members 4 and 5 may be made adjustable in length if required.
The tension members 4 and 5 may also be replaced by flexible skin members 6 and 7, as shown in Figure 10.
The way in which the links 3 and tension members 4 are attached is shown in greater detail in the embodiment of Figure 5. In this embodiment, each node comprises a hub 8 having six arms 9. Each arm 9 presents a pivotal axis 10, the six axes making up the sides of a regular hexagon. In other embodiments different polygonal shapes may be used.
Each link 3 is connected to the relevant pivotal axis by a pivot pin 11. The tension members 4 are secured to anchorage points 12, each anchorage point being positioned between two of the arms 9.
Preferably each upper node 1 is guided for sliding movement towards the opposed node 2, and in the component shown in Figures 1 to 9, nodes Id and 2d are mounted on a tie member 13 for sliding movement therealong.
Once the upper nodes and lower nodes have slid towards one another to the full extent of their movement, locking means may be provided to prevent them from moving back again, thus locking the structure in a condition such as that shown in Figure 10.
The ends of the tie member 13 may for example be screw threaded, so that nuts can be screwed on to the ends of the tie member to abut against the nodes Id and 2d. Alternatively, there may be a head at one end of the member 13 and a nut at the other end.
The invention provides a structure which can be arranged to cover a very large area or occupy a very large space, the structure being relatively strong, but relatively light in weight. It can be folded up into a very small volume. The structure is therefore particularly suitable as a basic frame component of structures that have to be deployed in space. It will take up a very small volume in a space vehicle when travelling out into space, but can then be quickly and simply deployed in space. The high proportion of tension members to that of compression members helps to substantially reduce overall weight.
Structures having a curved surface may be provided by varying the lengths between the upper and lower groups of tripod members and tension members. The tension members, which preferably comprise cables, may be stowed, in the folded state, within the tetrahedral spaces generated in the framework of conjoined trusses. Similar stowage of the stressed membrane skin shown in Figure 10 could be accorded.
Alternative constructions are possible, and Figure 3 shows an arrangement in which the structure is biased into the expanded condition by compression springs 14 mounted on the ends of the tie member 13.
An alternative possibility would be to use a telescopic tie member 13 or a powered screw threaded member. The necessary power and control may be provided by any means, including pneumatics, hydraulics or electrics. More basic mechanisms could be used, such as a rope and pulley, for example where the structure is to be used as a stage lighting truss in a theatre.
Although the structure shown in Figure 10 comprises a double layer, it will be apparent not only that further modules could be added around the sides of the structure shown in Figure 10, to increase the area covered by the structure, but additional modules could be provided on top of the structure shown in Figure 10, or below, to provide multiple layers.
Although the connections shown in Figure 5 pivot about a single axis, universal joints could also be used. In addition to the uses already mentioned, the invention could be applied to de-mountable roof trusses, scaffolding, dome structures, any space frame system, oil rig platforms, kites, false ceiling systems, exhibition display boards, electricity pylons, temporary housing or sun canopies.
The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.
All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive.
Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.
The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing embodiment(s). The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.

Claims

1. A foldable structure comprising a plurality of first nodes and a plurality of opposed second nodes, the nodes being interconnected by links pivotally attached thereto, the arrangement being such that in a folded condition the first nodes are grouped together, and the second nodes are grouped together spaced from the first nodes, but on relative movement of the first nodes towards the second nodes the links cause the first nodes to expand outwardly from one another, and also cause the second nodes to expand outwardly from one another, substantially increasing the size of the structure, the structure also including means to limit the movement of the first nodes towards the second nodes.
2. A structure according to Claim 1 wherein the limiting means comprises tension means connected between the first nodes.
3. A structure according to Claim 1 or Claim 2 wherein the limiting means comprises tension means connected between the second nodes.
4. A structure according to Claim 2 or Claim 3 wherein the tension means comprise cords, cables or like tension members which collapse when the nodes are moved back towards the folded condition.
5. A structure according to any of claims 2 to 4 wherein the tension means comprise a flexible sheet member, for example to provide a skin for the structure in the expanded condition.
6. A structure according to any of the preceding claims wherein there is provided means to lock the nodes together when the first nodes have reached the limit of their relative movement towards the second nodes.
7. A structure according to Claim 6 wherein the locking means comprises tie members extending from the first nodes to the second nodes.
8. A structure according to Claim 7 wherein each first node is paired with an opposed second node, the nodes being mounted on a common tie member along which relative sliding movement can take place as the nodes move between their folded and expanded conditions.
9. A structure according to Claim 7 or Claim 8 wherein means are provided to lock the node members in position on the tie member.
10. A structure according to any of the preceding claims wherein the nodes are resiliently biased into certain positions.
11. A structure according to any of the preceding claims wherein each node has a plurality of pivot axes for the links, the axes being arranged to form the sides of a regular polygon.
12. A structure according to any of the preceding claims wherein each first node is pivotally connected by the links to each of the second nodes which is adjacent to the second node opposite to the said first node.
13. A structure substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
PCT/GB1992/000939 1991-05-25 1992-05-22 Foldable structures WO1992022102A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9111368A GB2256444A (en) 1991-05-25 1991-05-25 Foldable structure
GB9111368.8 1991-05-25

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO1992022102A1 true WO1992022102A1 (en) 1992-12-10

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ID=10695633

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/GB1992/000939 WO1992022102A1 (en) 1991-05-25 1992-05-22 Foldable structures

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AU (1) AU1789492A (en)
GB (1) GB2256444A (en)
WO (1) WO1992022102A1 (en)

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GB2303650B (en) * 1995-07-26 1999-01-13 Univ Central England In Birmin Wall structures
US6253905B1 (en) 1999-02-26 2001-07-03 Rapistan Systems Advertising Corp. Unscrambling and aligning conveyor
FR2823287B1 (en) * 2001-04-09 2003-08-22 Centre Nat Rech Scient Stable self-balancing system for construction element
DE102004042905A1 (en) * 2004-09-06 2006-03-09 Benjamin Wernike Arrangement for a prefabricated construction in skeleton construction
US10570606B2 (en) 2016-04-15 2020-02-25 Kevin Douglas Hoy Support-frameworks

Citations (2)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3913105A (en) * 1971-04-05 1975-10-14 Trw Inc Collapsible self-erecting tubular frame structure and deployable electromagnetic reflector embodying same
EP0290729A2 (en) * 1987-05-14 1988-11-17 Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha Module for expandable truss structure and expandable truss structure employing said module

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB655970A (en) * 1948-12-13 1951-08-08 John Fenwick Hutchings Improvements in the application of the "lazy-tongs" system to collapsible towers andthe like
GB983720A (en) * 1962-09-19 1965-02-17 Frank Joseph Marino Improvements in or relating to portable canopies
GB1211961A (en) * 1969-01-21 1970-11-11 Astro Res Corp Elongated collapsible structure
FR2138244B1 (en) * 1971-05-19 1973-05-11 Soisson Gerard
US4241746A (en) * 1979-05-02 1980-12-30 Bruce Rothe Collapsible building structure
US4557097A (en) * 1983-09-08 1985-12-10 The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space Administration Sequentially deployable maneuverable tetrahedral beam
US5038532A (en) * 1989-10-10 1991-08-13 University Of New Mexico Deployable spatial structure

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3913105A (en) * 1971-04-05 1975-10-14 Trw Inc Collapsible self-erecting tubular frame structure and deployable electromagnetic reflector embodying same
EP0290729A2 (en) * 1987-05-14 1988-11-17 Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha Module for expandable truss structure and expandable truss structure employing said module

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
JOURNAL OF SPACECRAFT AND ROCKETS. vol. 25, no. 2, April 1988, NEW YORK US pages 109 - 116; ONODA: 'Two-Dimensional Deployable Truss Structures for Space Applications' *

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
AU1789492A (en) 1993-01-08
GB9111368D0 (en) 1991-07-17
GB2256444A (en) 1992-12-09

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