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Advancements in Fail Safe Response With Bistable Composite Structures

[+] Author Affiliations
Zachary L. Whitman, Valeria La Saponara, Daniel O. Adams, Seubpong Leelavanichkul, Andrej Cherkaev, Elena Cherkaev, Vladimir Vinogradov

University of Utah

Paper No. IMECE2005-80627, pp. 451-456; 6 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Applied Mechanics
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Applied Mechanics Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4212-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Cars have dent resistant side panels, crumple zones and composite bumpers to absorb and disperse impact energy protecting occupants. Each of these improvements share a common feature: once activated or deformed, their load carrying capacity is diminished. A bistable structure is such that, once activated, it has a second stronger phase which has the ability to sustain higher loads. This allows for a better distribution of damage, and in addition the structure keeps its integrity for a longer time. Initial tests have verified this concept proving that a bistable structure under tensile loading has the capacity of absorbing more energy than a similar monolithic structure under the same load conditions. Bistable structure behavior has also been shown for a system composed of advanced fiber reinforced composites, which has the potential of being a break-through for applications where energy absorption is sought.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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