Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

  • An Analytical Model for Nonlinear-Elastic Compliant Mechanisms With Tension–Compression Asymmetry
    on April 9, 2024 at 12:00 am

    AbstractWhile nonlinear-elastic materials demonstrate potential in enhancing the performance of compliant mechanisms, their behavior still needs to be captured in a generalized mechanical model. To inform new designs and functionality of compliant mechanisms, a better understanding of nonlinear-elastic materials is necessary and, in particular, their mechanical properties that often differ in tension and compression. In the current work, a beam-based analytical model incorporating nonlinear-elastic material behavior is defined for a folding compliant mechanism geometry. Exact equations are derived capturing the nonlinear curvature profile and shift in the neutral axis due to the material asymmetry. The deflection and curvature profile are compared with finite element analysis along with stress distribution across the beam thickness. The analytical model is shown to be a good approximation of the behavior of nonlinear-elastic materials with tension–compression asymmetry under the assumptions of the von Kármán strain theory. Through a segmentation approach, the geometries of a semicircular arc and folding compliant mechanism design are defined. The deflection of the folding compliant mechanism due to an applied tip load is then evaluated against finite element analysis and experimental results. The generalized methods presented highlight the utility of the model for designing and predicting the behavior of other compliant mechanism geometries and different nonlinear-elastic materials.

  • Reconfigurable Thick-Panel Structures Based on a Stacked Origami Tube
    on April 9, 2024 at 12:00 am

    AbstractVariable crease origami that exhibits crease topological morphing allows a given crease pattern to be folded into multiple shapes, greatly extending the reconfigurability of origami structures. However, it is a challenge to enable the thick-panel forms of such crease patterns to bifurcate uniquely and reliably into desired modes. Here, thick-panel theory combined with cuts is applied to a stacked origami tube with multiple bifurcation paths. The thick-panel form corresponding to the stacked origami tube is constructed, which can bifurcate exactly between two desired modes without falling into other bifurcation paths. Then, kinematic analysis is carried out, and the results reveal that the thick-panel origami tube is kinematically equivalent to its zero-thickness form with one degree-of-freedom (DOF). In addition, a reconfigurable physical prototype of the thick-panel origami tube is produced, which achieves reliable bifurcation control through a single actuator. Such thick-panel origami tubes with controllable reconfigurability have great potential engineering applications in the fields of morphing systems such as mechanical metamaterials, morphing wings, and deployable structures.

  • Near-Zero Parasitic Shift Flexure Pivots Based on Coupled n -RRR Planar Parallel Mechanisms
    on April 9, 2024 at 12:00 am

    AbstractFlexure pivots, which are widely used for precision mechanisms, generally have the drawback of presenting parasitic shifts accompanying their rotation. The known solutions for canceling these undesirable parasitic translations usually induce a loss in radial stiffness, a reduction of the angular stroke, and nonlinear moment–angle characteristics. This article introduces a novel family of kinematic structures based on coupled n-RRR planar parallel mechanisms, which presents exact zero parasitic shifts while alleviating the drawbacks of some known pivoting structures. Based on this invention, three symmetrical architectures have been designed and implemented as flexure-based pivots. The performance of the newly introduced pivots has been compared with two known planar flexure pivots having theoretically zero parasitic shift via Finite Element models and experiments performed on plastic mockups. The results show that the newly introduced flexure pivots are an order of magnitude radially stiffer than the considered pivots from the state-of-the-art while having equivalent angular strokes. To experimentally evaluate the parasitic shift of the novel pivots, one of the architectures was manufactured in titanium alloy using wire-cut electrical discharge machining. This prototype exhibits a parasitic shift under 1.5 µm over a rotation stroke of ±15 deg, validating the near-zero parasitic shift properties of the presented designs. These advantages are key to applications such as mechanical time bases, surgical robotics, or optomechanical mechanisms.

Design of a Four-Bar Latch Mechanism and a Shear-Based Rotary Viscous Damper for Single-Axis Prosthetic Knees

Abstract

With over 30 million people worldwide requiring assistive devices, there is a great need for low-cost and high-performance prosthetic technologies that can enable kinematics close to able-bodied gait. Low-income users of prosthetic knees in the developing world repeatedly report the need for n inconspicuous gait to mitigate the severe socioeconomic discrimination associated with disability. However, passive prosthetic knees designed for these users have primarily focused on stability and affordability, often at the cost of the high biomechanical performance that is required to replicate able-bodied kinematics. In this study, we present the design and preliminary testing of two distinct mechanism modules that are novel for passive prosthetic knee applications: the stability module and the damping module. These mechanisms are designed to enable users of single-axis, passive prosthetic knees to walk with close to able-bodied kinematics on level-ground, specifically during the transition from the stance phase to the swing phase of the gait cycle. The stability module was implemented with a latch mounted on a virtual axis of a four-bar linkage, which can be engaged during early stance for stability and disengaged during late stance to initiate knee flexion. The damping module was implemented with a concentric stack of stationary and rotating pairs of plates that shear thin films of high-viscosity silicone oil. The goal of the resulting first-order damping torque was to achieve smooth flexion of the prosthetic knee within the able-bodied gait range (64 ± 6 deg). For preliminary user-centric validation, a prototype prosthetic knee with the stability module and two different dampers (with varying damping coefficients) was tested on a single subject with above-knee amputation in India. The stability module enabled smooth transition from stance to swing with timely initiation of knee flexion. The dampers also performed satisfactorily, as the increase in the damping coefficient was found to decrease the peak knee flexion angle during swing. The applications of the mechanisms presented in this article could significantly improve the kinematic performance of low-cost, passive prosthetic knees.

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