Compliant mechanisms generated by traditional topology optimization methods have linear output response, and it is difficult for traditional methods to implement mechanisms having non-linear output responses, such as nonlinear deformation or path. To design a compliant mechanism having a specified nonlinear output path, a two-stage design method based on topology and shape optimization is constructed here. In the first stage, topology optimization generates an initial and conceptual compliant mechanism based on ordinary design conditions, with “additional” constraints that are used to control the output path at the second stage. In the second stage, an initial model for the shape optimization is created, based on the result of the topology optimization, and the additional constraints are replaced by spring elements. The shape optimization is then executed, to generate a detailed shape of the compliant mechanism having the desired output path. In this stage, parameters that represent the outer shape of the compliant mechanism and the properties of spring elements are used as design variables in the shape optimization. In addition to configuration of the specified output path, executing the shape optimization after the topology optimization also makes it possible to consider the stress concentration and large displacement effects. This is an advantage offered by the proposed method, since it is difficult for traditional methods to consider these aspects, due to inherent limitations of topology optimization.

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