About

beginning

In 2000, Dr. Mauro Pedretti, a Swiss civil engineer, had the idea to reinforce inflated beams with cables and struts in order to improve the load bearing capacity of the system. A new light-weight structural concept was born, which was later named Tensairity, an acronym for tension, air and integrity. The company Airlight Ltd was set up in Biasca, Switzerland by Mauro Pedretti to commercialize the new structure. In 2001 Mauro Pedretti entered a collaboration with the Swiss company prospective concepts AG, which was famous for their work with inflatables, in particular for their inflatable manned airplane Stingray. Dr. Rolf Luchsinger joined prospective concepts in the beginning of 2002 to take over the R&D of Tensairity, while Airlight started to focus their efforts on applications of Tensairity. A demonstrator car bridge was built in 2002 which was the first public presentation of the Tensairity technology on June 26th at an event of prospective concepts. In the coming years, the technology was continuously improved and Airlight was able to realize a number of Tensairity structures. The roof of the parking garage in Montreux in 2004 already showed the full potential of the Tensairity technology. A skiers bridge in France 2005 proofed the load bearing capacity of Tensairity and is with its 52 m span the largest Tensairity structure so far.

Development

In 2006, the R&D activities of prospective concepts were transferred to the newly founded Center for Synergetic Structures, a public private partnership between the Swiss Federal Research Institute Empa and prospective concepts. Headed by Rolf Luchsinger, the Center scrutinized the structural behaviour of Tensairity in the coming years. Dedicated test rigs were built, detailed FEM models developed and material properties measured in order to fully understand, optimize and further develop the system. This work led to a number of scientific papers which attracted the interest from researchers all over the world. Roberto Maffei and Paolo Beccarelli, both PhD students at Politecnico di Milano, started to devote their research to fabric structures and Tensairity around 2010.

Future

The fruitful collaboration between these researchers and the Center for Synergetic Structures eventually led to the realisation of the first Tensairity hospitality together with a group of entrepreneurs in 2014. On December 22th, 2014, Tensairity Solutions srl was founded.