Identifying all the functional topological structures embedded in a variable topology mechanism (VTM) is a leading step when analyzing the topological characteristics of the mechanism. Such an identification task is equivalent to the structure decomposition of the VTM. In this paper, we introduce a systematic approach, which is both algebraically and computationally manipulate-able, for the structure decomposition of VTMs. Based on a given source mechanism of a VTM, all its embedded functional topological structures can be identified through an algebraic computation via this method. For illustrating the presented approach, the decomposition of an automatic steel clamping and sawing mechanism is demonstrated.

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