Team uses fractal geometry to build lighter structures: The first step is to create a hollow metal beam of the size desired for a given project. Next, reengineer the beam by changing its diameter and thickness such that the beam weighs as little as possible but is still able to withstand the weight or pressure it will be subjected to as a final structure. Once that is achieved, label it generation-0. The next step is to create a larger beam made out of generation-0 beams arranged using triangular subdivisions. This next beam is labeled a generation-1 beam...
...the researchers suggest that a solar sail made with a solid metal 100 meter boom (not that anyone is proposing that) could be made to be 10,000 times lighter if a generation-3 beam were used instead.
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