Abstract

We reconsider macroscopic structure, including tensegrity structures, as ensembles of compression (C; repulsion) and tension (T; attraction) forces, and fit them to a triangular spectrum. Then, derivative structural analogy is made to the three classes of molecular bonding, as a bridge to microscopic structure. Basic molecular interactions and their “C/T” analogues are ionic bonds (with continuous compression/discontinuous tension), or metallic bonds (with both continuous tension and compression), or covalent bonds (with discontinuous compression/continuous tension—a tensegrity structure). The construction of tensegrity sculptures of particle interactions and the covalent molecules dihydrogen, methane, diborane, and benzene using tension and compression elements follows. We derived and utilized two properties in this analysis: 1) a “simplest tensegrity” subunit structure and 2) interpenetrating, discontinuous compressive members—tension members may also be discontinuous. This approach provides new artistic models for molecules and materials, and may inform future artistic, architectural, engineering and scientific endeavors.

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