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Double-Tensural Bistable Mechanisms (DTBM) With On-Chip Actuation and Spring-Like Post-Bistable Behavior

[+] Author Affiliations
Daniel L. Wilcox

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Larry L. Howell

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Paper No. DETC2005-84697, pp. 537-546; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 29th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Long Beach, California, USA, September 24–28, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4744-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-3766-1
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


A set of mechanisms called Double Tensural Bistable Mechanisms (DTBM) is presented. DTBMs are fully compliant linear bistable mechanisms that have two bending segments that undergo tension loading. Five configurations of the DTBM are designed, fabricated using surface micromachining, and tested. Measured force and displacement are compared with finite element analysis (FEA) predictions. For two DTBM configurations, a novel post-switch, large-displacement, low-k linear spring behavior is predicted by the FEA models and verified through experimental testing. On-chip actuation of two devices is achieved using thermomechanical in-plane microactuators (TIMs). The DTBM mechanism set explores a relatively new design space for fully compliant micromechanisms, and mechanisms from this class have promise in such applications as shutter positioning, microvalves, electrical relays, inertial sensors and g/time switches.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME
Topics: Springs , Mechanisms



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