Presented in this paper is a method for modeling and simulation of a complete morphing mechanism. The said mechanism has a rigid panel morphing skin that morphs along with a driving mechanism. The said skin is made of segmented panels, inspired by fish scales. Since the gaps between these panels are undesirable, a gapless design is introduced in this paper by using shape-memory polymer (SMP) joints. This paper aims to solve two fundamental problems for the entire system: (1) motion control and (2) force control. The motion control is addressed through the kinematic modeling of two equations including (a) the passive rigid panels and (b) the passive rigid panels to the active mechanism. Force control is achieved through force modeling. This is to develop a relationship of the SMP deformations to the required actuator forces. The experiment is carried out to determine the SMP forces versus deformation, and simulations are conducted to investigate how a complete morphing mechanism behaves. It also reveals that the workspace and singularity of the original mechanism will change after covered by a morphing skin. The developed method sheds light on the design of a complete morphing mechanism.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues