Austin Mills



Download Project (877 KB)


This research investigates the suitability of tensegrity aircraft wing concepts and compares their simulated structural performance to a baseline conventional wing structure. Tensegrity systems consist of a series of compressed struts connected by tensioned cables that place the system in a self-equilibrium state. With all components being loaded axially, a tensegrity system has a potentially high strength-to-weight ratio. Of specific interest, tensegrity systems may provide pathway to morphing aircraft structures through the actuation of cables. Aircraft with wings that are able to alter their sweep, span, chord, and camber are particularly attractive for their ability to change between high maneuverability to high lift to low drag configurations. With an eye towards this application, the present study compares two tensegrity-based wing designs, generated through designer insights and structural topology optimization methods, to the aluminum Van’s RV-4 aircraft rib/spar wing structure, chosen as the baseline performance case.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Assessment of the Structural Suitability of Tensegrity Aircraft Wings