The ability to deploy a planar surface to a desired convex profile with a simple actuation can enhance foldable or morphing airfoils, deployable antennae and reflectors, and other applications where a specific profile geometry is desired from a planar sheet. A model using a system of rigid links joined by torsional springs of tailorable stiffness is employed to create an approximate curved surface when two opposing tip loads are applied. A system of equations describing the shape of the surface during deployment is developed. The physical implementation of the model uses compliant torsion bars as the torsion springs. A multidimensional optimization algorithm is presented to place joints to minimize the error from the rigid-link approximation and account for additional manufacturing and stress considerations in the torsion bars. A proof is presented to show that equal torsion spring spacing along the horizontal axis of deployed parabolic profiles will result in minimizing the area between the model’s rigid-link approximation and smooth curve. The model is demonstrated through the physical construction of a deployable airfoil surface and a metallic deployable parabolic reflector.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues