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Optimal Synthesis of Compliant Mechanisms Using Subdivision and Commercial FEA

[+] Author Affiliations
Patrick V. Hull, Stephen Canfield

Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN

Paper No. DETC2004-57497, pp. 1311-1322; 12 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 28th Biennial Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, September 28–October 2, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4695-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3742-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


The field of distributed-compliance mechanisms has seen significant work in developing suitable topology optimization tools for their design. These optimal design tools have grown out of the techniques of structural optimization. This paper will build on the previous work in topology optimization and compliant mechanism design by proposing an alternative design space parameterization through control points and adding another step to the process, that of subdivision. The control points assist a specific design to be represented as a solid model during the optimization process. The process of subdivision creates an additional number of control points that help smooth the surface (for example a C2 continuous surface depending on the method of subdivision chosen) creating a manufacturable design free of traditional numerical instabilities. Note that these additional control points do not add to the number of design parameters. This alternative parameterization and description as a solid model effectively and completely separates the design variables from the analysis variables during the optimization procedure. The motivation behind this work is to avoid several of the numerical instabilities that occur in topology optimization and to create an automated design tool from task definition to functional prototype created on a CNC or rapid-prototype machine. This paper will describe the complaint mechanism design process including subdivision and will demonstrate the procedure on several common examples.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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