Abstract

Bistable composites have created much attention in engineering applications because of its ability to sustain two stable shapes. A systematic layup of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) causes bistability in a lamina. The transition from one stable shape to another is occurred by snap-through and snap-back process. Due to their adaptive nature a lot of study has been conducted on a 2D laminate for over the past 30 years. However, fabrication of a 3D model that exhibits bistability is yet to be explored. In this research we fabricated a 3D bistable composite structure having two parallel cross-ply square laminates connected by a rigid tab at one edge. The entire structure exhibits bistability when the two laminates are actuated simultaneously. The parallel laminates are also independent when actuated individually, making the model achieve four independent stable shapes. Our goal is to understand the bistable behavior and predict the degree of curvature and the snap through response of the solid structure. This paper discusses the fabrication of a solid composite structure that can be further analyzed numerically by creating an FEA model using ABAQUS. The simulation results could be validated experimentally. In this research we also aim to put together an analytical model of this 3D laminate structure. Successful fabrication and mathematical analysis of our 3D laminate using carbon fiber reinforced polymer will hopefully inspire additive manufacturing of bistable composite structure that will lead to more complicated design of bistable materials with more morphing characteristics.

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