Title: Development and Iterative Design of Multistable Multi-Material Compliant Mechanisms
Independent Research Project 2019-2020
New Hampshire Academy of Science
To create a modular system that uses the principles of compliant engineering as a base for a robotic movement system.
This was an independent research project. I designed, fabricated, tested, and iterated the design of a variety of prototypes.
Compliant mechanisms are devices that use flexibility to enhance the functionality of an object or design. Bistability is a property of some compliant mechanisms; it allows moving stage to travel and fix in two stable positions.
Below: some example mechanisms. The first two images represent a mechanism, one I designed to hold circular objects, in its resting and actuated state. The third is a set of compliant grippers made by Brigham Young University compliant mechanisms research group.
This project was completed over a three-week time period at the New Hampshire Academy of Science. After a research survey and a close look into more informal examples of compliant mechanisms, I began by sketching ideas based on my research. I defined a set of design requirements based on the constraints of the lab’s additive manufacturing equipment and my experience with CAD and compliant engineering.
After selecting a number of avenues to pursue, I met with Professor Marcus Testorf and Hypertherm Engineer Zheng Duan to discuss ideas. Based on their feedback and the constrained timeline, I opted to pursue a modular system with relatively small components, as they were easy to prototype and iterate on.
This process of design, test, and refine in CAD happened a number of times. I followed an iterative design workflow, testing CAD models with Finite Element Analysis software and making tweaks before printing. After print modifications and further testing, I integrated those failure points into subsequent designs.
After three major design revisions, the final system satisfied many of the proposed design requirements. The actuation was consistent, durability strong within a defined range of forces, and the system was cost effective. Though this system still must be developed to further its application to robotics, it was an effective design workflow and engaging foray into compliant mechanisms.
The paper I wrote was submitted for peer review and its abstract was published in the AAAS journal. I was also selected to present my research at the annual meeting of the AAAS with the AJAS.
This project was awarded First Place in Engineering and Third Place overall at the NHSEE. This project was subsequently included in the 2020 Regeneron ISEF Fair.
To get a copy of the full paper click below
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