Abstract

This paper presents complete solutions to the function, motion and path generation problems of Watt’s and Stephenson six-link, slider-crank and four-link mechanisms using homotopy methods with m-homogenization. It is shown that using the matrix method for synthesis, applying m-homogeneous group theory, and by defining compatibility equations in addition to the synthesis equations, the number of homotopy paths to be tracked can be drastically reduced. For Watt’s six-link function generators with 6 thru 11 precision positions, the number of homotopy paths to be tracked in obtaining all possible solutions range from 640 to 55,050,240. For Stephenson-II and -III mechanisms these numbers vary from 640 to 412,876,800. For 6, 7 and 8 point slider-crank path generation problems, the number of paths to be tracked are 320, 3840 and 17,920, respectively, whereas for four-link path generators with 6 thru 8 positions these numbers range from 640 to 71,680. It is also shown that for body guidance problems of slider-crank and four-link mechanisms, the number of homotopy paths to be tracked is exactly same as the maximum number of possible solutions given by the Burmester-Ball theories. Numerical results of synthesis of slider-crank path generators for 8 precision positions and six-link Watt and Stephenson-III function generators for 9 prescribed positions are also presented.

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