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Achieving Multistability Through Use of a Single Bistable Compliant Mechanism

[+] Author Affiliations
Guimin Chen, Yanjie Gou, Aimei Zhang

Xidian University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China

Paper No. DETC2010-28388, pp. 437-446; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 34th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4410-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


A compliant multistable mechanism is capable of steadily staying at multiple distinct positions without power input. Many applications including switches, valves, relays, positioners, and reconfigurable robots may benefit from multistability. In this paper, two new approaches for synthesizing compliant multistable mechanisms are proposed, which enable designers to achieve multistability through the use of a single bistable mechanism. The synthesis approaches are described and illustrated by several design examples. Compound use of both approaches is also discussed. The design potential of the synthesis approaches is demonstrated by the successful operation of several instantiations of designs that exhibit three, four, five, and nine stable equilibrium positions, respectively. The synthesis approaches enable us to design a compliant mechanism with a desired number of stable positions.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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