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What is Flextegrity?

Flextegrity is an applied material and construction strategy, with several prototypes bearing enough family resemblance to give a clear sense of the generic approach.


  • One hallmark of a flextegrity is it may be extended both laterally and vertically, in the form of sheets, columns, or other shapes.
  • A layer of flextegrity may be curved to conform to some underlying landscape, or even looped into a cylinder without losing its structural integrity. Hence the name, a contraction of "flexible" and "integrity."
  • Any load bearing material distributes compressive and tensive forces. Flextegrities tend to isolate the compressive members as icosahedra, chosen for their triangulated robustness, and to hold these islanded members in a permeable, non-brittle array, by means of bands, springs, or other joiners.
  • Not every flextegrity follows this rule however
  • The tensile connectors exploit the inherent cubic symmetry of the icosahedron, which in its regular form consists of three mutually orthogaonal golden rectangles.
  • In some designs, bands running tangent to these rectangles knit the icosahedra together, holding them at the centers of a cubic close packing matrix.
  • In other designs, the icosahedra are interconnected by springs in this same arrangement.

Flextegrity vs. Tensegrity

Flextegrity bears some similarity to tensegrity in that the icosahedra may be referred to as "floating compression members." However, a formal definition of tensegrity would exclude these materials as their interstitial connectors are not exclusively tensile, nor are the icosahedral compressive members rod-shaped.

Flextegrity vs. the Octet Truss

Flextegrity also bears some similarity to the octet-truss, a common space frame design explored by Alexander Graham Bell and R. Buckminster Fuller in particular. Whereas the islanded icosahedra occupy the same centers of a CCP lattice, the interconnecting members do not run perpendicular to the planar facets of their rhombic dodecahedral space-filling domains (voronoi cells). Flextegrity is therefore not an octet truss either.

For more information...

Flextegrity is the invention of Sam Lanahan, who currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Visit his [company web site http://www.flextegrity.com/] for full details and more ideas for possible applications.

Contact-new.svg Kirby Urner
Website:4D Solutions
Blog:Grain of Sand
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