Wide Span Structures Using Pressurized Airbeams

Period of Performance: 02/27/1998 - 02/27/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vertigo, Inc.
20590 Cereal Street, Suite 100, P. O. Box 117
Lake Elsinore, CA 92531
Principal Investigator


The Army and other military and civilian organizations require large structures that can be easily transported and quickly erected. Applications include large shelters, impact attenuation devices, airdrop anti-roller devices, portable bridges, watercraft, and pontoons. Recent advances in high pressure inflatable structures use a braiding process to fabricate seamless tubes capable of containing high pressure and resisting bending. A related development allows curved airbeams to be braided on straight mandrels. Examples of this type of construction have been shown to be structurally efficient, robust and relatively economical. Phase I research focused on meeting the Army requirement for an Aviation maintenance shelter using airbeams. A shelter system study produced a preliminary design for an airbeam shelter that meets or exceeds all AMS requirements. The optimum AMS airbeam is larger than existing braiding facilities can produce. Proposed Phase II work includes development of a braiding facility capable of fabricating AMS airbeams and other high pressure structures up to 36 inches diameter and 110 feet length. The objective of Phase II is to detail the AIMs design and to produce a full size airbeam. This supports the Phase III objective of providing the Army with a lightweight, rapid deployment, Aviation Maintenance shelter. BENEFITS: There are numerous other applications for shelters of this type. Many are in military and civilian aviation. Others are in the rental tent industry. These include export opportunities. Large, lightweight, deployable structures also have applications in precision airdrop, space, watercraft, bridges, impact attenuation and aircraft evacuation.