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.

Form-Finding and Evaluation of Spherical Tensegrity Toward Applying in Locomotive Robots

Abstract

A tensegrity-based robot is a locomotive robot that operates on the principle of tensegrity, allowing it to change its shape by adjusting its internal prestress. Tensegrity-based robots can be categorized into different types based on their shape, with the spherical tensegrity-based robot garnering the most attention. However, existing designs for spherical tensegrity-based robots tend to be relatively simple and lack standardized criteria for evaluating their performance. This paper proposes an optimization approach using the force density method to design new spherical regular tensegrity configurations. This is achieved by parameterizing the topology and configuration of the structure, taking into account structural symmetry and the even distribution of internal forces. The proposed approach generates not only classical tensegrities but also novel configurations suitable for locomotive robots. To preliminarily evaluate the suitability of classical tensegrities and novel tensegrities to be used as a rolling robot, a set of performance indexes, including inner space, compactability, prestress evenness, gait repeatability, tilt stability ratio, stride length, and path efficiency, are proposed. The proposed indexes can be quickly determined based on the geometry of the tensegrity and thus are useful in the conceptual selection of the spherical tensegrities for rolling robots. They are used to evaluate a set of six spherical tensegrities. Numerical simulations are carried out to verify the feasibility of geometry-based approximating the gait-dependent indexes. Through the evaluation, a novel spherical tensegrity consisting of 15 struts and 60 tendons is identified as a promising candidate for rolling robots.

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