History of the Tensairity Patents
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.
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.
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. The fruitful collaboration between these researchers and the Center for Synergetic Structures eventually led to the realisation of the first Tensairity paddocks together with Carlo Dusina from 3Btende in 2014. On December 22th, 2014, Roberto Maffei, Rolf Luchsinger, Paolo Beccarelli, Carlo Dusina and Franco Bresciani founded Tensairity Solutions srl.
Tensairity Solutions srl is the current owner of the Tensairity Patents and is focused on their commercial exploitation for temporary applications. During the last 5 years the company launched a new generation of temporary pavilions based on Tensairity girders and designed for the motorsport sector. The roof system obtained the TÜV certification according to the European standard EN 13782:2015 “Temporary structure. Tents. Safety” and is currently adopted by several racing teams such as Yamaha MotoGP, Ducati Superbike, Imperiale-Lamborghini, Audi Tron Sailing Series and ISAF Sailing WorldCup.
In 2018 a close collaboration with Buildair and the International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE) resulted in a new company, PSTech, focused on the development of Tensairity Bridges for temporary applications.
EP1210489, Pneumatisches bauelement
EP1656483, Pneumatischer träger
EP1694931, Pneumatische flächenstruktur
EP1989378, Pneumatisches bauelement
Roekens, J. (2016) Lightweight structural concepts for disaster relief sheltering. PhD Thesis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
Maffei, R. (2013) Sheltering in emergency: processes and products. textile kit for immediate response. PhD Thesis, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
De Laet, L. (2010) Deployable Tensairity structures. Design, analysis and development of foldable truss systems. PhD Thesis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
Teutsch, U. (2009) Tragverhalten von Tensairity Trägern. PhD Thesis, 18679, ETH-Zürich, Switzerland.