b. Patent Summary and Claims

The essence of my invention consists in the discovery of how to progressively reduce the aspect of compression in a structure so that, to a greater extent than has been found possible before, the structure will have the aspect of continuous tension throughout and the compression will be subjugated so that the compression elements become small islands in a sea of tension. this is to bring the slenderness, lightness and strength of the suspension bridge cable into the realm previously dominated by the compression column concept of building. The suspension bridge is fundamentally a tensioned structure through its use of the catenary curve of the cables between compression column towers. My invention is akin to taking some of the compression out of the “compression towers”, i.e. the columns, walls, and roofs, of a building, or even taking compression out of a single column or mast through the creation of a structure having discontinuous compression (as hereinafter defined) and continuous tension and wherein the islands of compression in the mast are progressively reduced in individual size and total mass.

As applied to a geodesic dome structure, I might describe my invention as a structure of generally spherical form comprising discontinuous compression columns arranged in an overall pattern of three-column tepees each column of each tepee being joined in “apparent” continuity to one column of one of three adjacent tepees to form what appears as a single column-like member, and the outer parts of the columns of each tepee being connected to one another only by tension elements. Tension elements also connect the outer parts of the columns to points on the columns in the region where they are joined together in apparent continuity.

As applied to structures generally, my invention consists in a structure comprising a plurality of discontinuous compression columns arranged in groups of three non-conjunctive columns connected by tension elements forming tension triangles, columns of adjacent groups being joined together in apparent continuity as above described.

According to another aspect on my invention the structure comprises an assemblage of tension and compression components arranged in a discontinuous compression system in which the compression components comprise an assemblage of compression and tension components arranged in a discontinuous compression system whereby the islands of compression in the initial discontinuous compression system are progressively diminished in size and relative mass.

R. Buckminster Fuller, “Tensile-Integrity Structures”, “Patent, No. 3,063,521” United States Patent Office, November 13, 1962, p.1-8


Claims:
1. A structure comprising a plurality of column-like members and a plurality of tension elements, the column-like members being held in axially spaced relationship to one another by the tension elements arranged as follows: each end of each column-like member is connected by tension elements both to an end portion and to a portion intermediate the ends of an adjacent column-like member.

2. A structure according to claim 1 in which that part of a column-like member which lies to one side of its central portion forms a triangular arrangement with two adjacent column-like members, and that part which lies to the other side of said central portion forms a triangular arrangement with another two adjacent column-like members, said two triangular arrangements overlapping one another.

3. A structure according to claim 1 in which that part of a column-like member which lies to one side of its central portion forms a triangular arrangement with two adjacent column-like members, and that part which lies to the other side of said central portion forms a triangular arrangement with another two adjacent column-like members, said two triangular arrangements being spaced from one another.

4. A structure according to claim 1 in which said column-like members are comprised by struts and said tension elements are comprised by cable means.

5. A structure according to claim 1 in which said column-like members are comprised by the bases of trough-shaped members and said tension elements are comprised by the edges of said trough-shaped members.

6. a structure according to claim 1 in which said column-like members comprise an assemblage of compression and tension components with compression components held in spaced relationship by the tension components.

7. In a discontinuous compression structure, a components comprising a strut and a pair of flexible tension slings each connected to an end portion and to a portion intermediate the ends of the strut, and means for connecting said slings respectively to end portions of two other components of like construction.

R. Buckminster Fuller, “Tensile-Integrity Structures”, “Patent, No. 3,063,521” United States Patent Office, November 13, 1962, p.1-8