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.

Research on a Biomimetic Flexible Ball Joint With Variable Stiffness for Robots

Abstract

The human ball joint is a compact and flexible 3-degree-of-freedom (DOF) composite joint. The ball joints commonly used in robot design lack active driving capability. Ball joints with active drive generally consist of three single-degree-of-freedom joints connected in series, which is a noncompacted structure and easily leads to singular postures. In order to meet the demand for high-performance composite joint modules for service robots, this article designs a flexible biomimetic spherical robot joint with variable stiffness characteristics: the mechanism of muscle parallel antagonistic drive and ligament wrapping constraint is simulated; three parallel branch chains are used to drive three composite degrees-of-freedom; ropes, soft airbags, and series elastic drive gears are used to form a flexible transmission system; the contour of the rope winch has been optimized with the aim of transmission stability; and a pneumatic variable stiffness soft structure has been designed and fabricated. A compliance control algorithm for joints was developed based on the principle of impedance control. The research results indicate that the biomimetic ball-and-socket joint has a compact structure, a wide range of motion and good motion tracking performance, variable stiffness performance, and flexible interaction ability.

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