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Concentric Nested Toroids Provide Flexibility to Inflatable Structures
August 2, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have developed a design for an inflatable structure that employs concentric nested toroids to achieve multiple limited-height assemblies. Originally intended for use as containers for human habitats in outer space or on remote planets, these inflatable structures have terrestrial uses as special-purpose buildings that can be transported to remote locations and inflated to full size and shape. The novel use of concentric nested toroids enables assemblies to maintain a one-level height over the entire structure span. Current designs typically require an increase in height to obtain the desired increase in area. Additionally, structures can be expanded simply by adding, without limit, more nested toroids. The toroids would likely be separated by a fabric or rigid wall that transfers the load from top to bottom, enabling the toroid to maintain its proper shape. JSC has applied for patent protection for this technology.


  • Flexible: Optimizes space utilization and partitioning
  • Robust: Allows for increased size without increasing overall structure stress
  • Customized: Features a design that can be tailored to desired size and purpose


  • Space habitats
  • Portable multi-purpose buildings for terrestrial use-particularly for applications requiring multiple compartments


JSC has applied for patent protection for this technology.

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator