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Design of Compliant Structural Mechanisms Using B-Spline Elements

[+] Author Affiliations
Ashok V. Kumar, Anand Parthasarathy

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Paper No. DETC2011-48615, pp. 127-133; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 31st Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5479-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Structural design is an inverse problem where the geometry that fits a specific design objective is found iteratively through repeated analysis or forward problem solving. In the case of compliant structures, the goal is to design the structure for a particular desired structural response that mimics traditional mechanisms and linkages. It is possible to state the inverse problem in many different ways depending on the choice of objective functions used and the method used to represent the shape. In this paper, some of the objective functions that have been used in the past, for the topology optimization approach to designing compliant mechanisms are compared and discussed. Topology optimization using traditional finite elements often do not yield well-defined smooth boundaries. The computed optimal material distributions have shape irregularities unless special techniques are used to suppress them. In this paper, shape is represented as the contours or level sets of a characteristic function that is defined using B-spline approximation to ensure that the contours, which represent the boundaries, are smooth. The analysis is also performed using B-spline elements which use B-spline basis functions to represent the displacement field. Application of this approach to design a few simple mechanisms is presented.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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