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Research Papers

Synthesis of Compliant Multistable Mechanisms Through Use of a Single Bistable Mechanism

[+] Author and Article Information
Guimin Chen, Yanjie Gou, Aimei Zhang

School of Mechatronics,  Xidian University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710071, China

J. Mech. Des 133(8), 081007 (Aug 10, 2011) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004543 History: Received October 14, 2010; Revised June 24, 2011; Published August 10, 2011; Online August 10, 2011

A compliant multistable mechanism is capable of steadily staying at multiple distinct positions without power input. Many applications including switches, valves, relays, positioners, and reconfigurable robots may benefit from multistability. In this paper, two new approaches for synthesizing compliant multistable mechanisms are proposed, which enable designers to achieve multistability through the use of a single bistable mechanism. The synthesis approaches are described and illustrated by several design examples. Compound use of both approaches is also discussed. The design potential of the synthesis approaches is demonstrated by the successful operation of several instantiations of designs that exhibit three, four, five, and nine stable equilibrium positions, respectively. The equations for determining the actuation force required to move a multistable mechanism are provided. The synthesis approaches enable us to design a compliant mechanism with a desired number of stable positions.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

The structure dimensions of the fully compliant bistable mechanism employed in the designs

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Figure 2

The force-deflection characteristics of a bistable mechanism

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Figure 3

A general configuration of the compliant multistable mechanisms

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Figure 4

A schematic of a compliant tristable mechanism illustrated in its three stable equilibrium positions

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Figure 5

A partially compliant tristable mechanism. (a) The first stable equilibrium position, (b) the second stable equilibrium position, and (c) the third stable equilibrium position.

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Figure 6

A fully compliant tristable mechanism [22]. (a) The fabricated position (the second stable equilibrium position), (b) the first stable equilibrium position, and (c) the third stable equilibrium position. The end-effector is the functioning body.

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Figure 7

A schematic of a compliant quinquestable mechanism

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Figure 8

A fully compliant mechanism with five stable equilibrium positions (end-effector 2 is the functioning body)

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Figure 9

A partially compliant mechanism with nine stable equilibrium positions (actuation force is applied on slider 3)

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Figure 10

A schematic of a compliant quadristable mechanism illustrated in its four stable equilibrium positions and one unstable equilibrium position

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Figure 11

A partially compliant quadristable mechanism. (a) The first stable equilibrium position, (b) the as-assembled position (the second stable equilibrium position), (c) the third stable equilibrium position, and (d) the fourth stable equilibrium position.

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Figure 12

A fully compliant quadristable mechanism with its as-fabricated position corresponds to its second stable equilibrium position. The end-effector is the functioning body.

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Figure 13

A schematic of an octostable mechanism (the sixth, seventh, and eighth stable positions are not shown due to the symmetry of the configuration)

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Figure 14

A schematic of a sexastable mechanism (where l1  = a1 while l2  > a2 )

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Figure 15

The actuation force and potential energy versus the slider position

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