A unified approach to topology and dimensional synthesis of compliant mechanisms is presented in this paper as a discrete optimization problem employing both discrete (topology) and continuous (size) variables. The synthesis scheme features a design parameterization method that treats load paths as discrete design variables to represent various topologies, thereby ensuring structural connectivity among the input, output, and ground supports. The load path synthesis approach overcomes certain design issues, such as “gray areas” and disconnected structures, inherent in previous design schemes. Additionally, multiple gradations of structural resolution and a variety of configurations can be generated without increasing the number of design variables. By treating topology synthesis as a discrete optimization problem, the synthesis approach is incorporated in a genetic algorithm to search for feasible topologies for single-input single-output compliant mechanisms. Two design examples, commonly seen in the compliant mechanisms literature, are included to illustrate the synthesis procedure and to benchmark the performance. The results show that the load path synthesis approach can effectively generate well-connected compliant mechanism designs that are free of gray areas.
Topology and Dimensional Synthesis of Compliant Mechanisms Using Discrete Optimization
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Lu, K., and Kota, S. (October 30, 2005). "Topology and Dimensional Synthesis of Compliant Mechanisms Using Discrete Optimization." ASME. J. Mech. Des. September 2006; 128(5): 1080–1091. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2216729
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