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.

Conceptual Design of a Novel Particle-Based Soft Grasping Gripper

Abstract

Soft grippers show adaptability and flexibility in grasping irregularly shaped and fragile objects. However, the low loading capacity and less deformation limit the soft gripper for developing large-scale applications. To overcome these limitations, we propose a new concept of a soft actuator with engineered smart particles. The proposed soft actuator is a dual-chamber programmable structure made from an elastic membrane filled with different particles, which can be driven by expanding particle volume or flexible membrane shrinking. Compared to traditional pneumatic or particle-jamming actuators, we use a combination of granular materials and smart materials, which delivers better active performances of large-scale deformation and variable stiffness. The coupled numerical model of the discrete element method and the finite element method is used to demonstrate the concept. The results indicated that the proposed soft gripper achieves the functionality of large deformation by a shrinking membrane or expanding particles. By controlling different design parameters, the actuator bends up to 138 deg, and the stiffness is up to a maximum of nine times of the pneumatic actuator. Additionally, the bending angle and deflections of the gripper actuator first increase and then drop down with increasing particle diameter ratio, actuator length, and elastic modulus of membrane material. Hence, the choice of different parameters must be in a specific range to achieve the required deformation. In conclusion, the soft-grasping gripper actuator can realize large bending deformation and shows potential for developing soft grippers in multi-scale physical scenarios.

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