J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):120201-120201-7. doi:10.1115/1.4038271.
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):121101-121101-13. doi:10.1115/1.4037627.

Product family (PF) design is a widely used strategy in the industry, as it allows meeting diverse design requirements. Change propagation in any PF is difficult to predict. Consequently, while numerous design change management methodologies presently exist, their application is restricted to a single artifact. This issue is overcome in the present study. The proposed framework explores effective change propagation paths (CPPs) by considering the risks associated with design changes in the PF with the aim of minimizing the overall redesign cost. The propagated risk, which would result in rework, is quantified in terms of change impact and propagation likelihood. Moreover, a design structure matrix (DSM) based mathematical model and an algorithm for its implementation are proposed to investigate the change propagation across the PF. Finally, to demonstrate their effectiveness, a PF of electric kettles is examined in a case study. The study findings confirm that the proposed technique is appropriate for evaluating different CPPs in PF.

Topics: Design , Risk , Algorithms
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Design Automation

J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):121401-121401-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037894.

A systematic unit cell synthesis approach is presented for designing metamaterials from a unit cell level, which are made out of linearly elastic constitutive materials to achieve tunable nonlinear deformation characteristics. This method is expected to serve as an alternative to classical Topology Optimization methods (solid isotropic material with penalization or homogenization) in specific cases by carrying out unit cell synthesis and subsequent size optimization (SO). The unit cells are developed by synthesizing elemental components with simple geometries that display geometric nonlinearity under deformation. The idea is to replace the physical nonlinear behavior of the target material by adding geometric nonlinearities associated with the deforming entities and thus, achieve large overall deformations with small linear strains in each deformed entity. A case study is presented, which uses the proposed method to design a metamaterial that mimics the nonlinear deformation behavior of a military tank track rubber pad under compression. Two unit cell concepts that successfully match the nonlinear target rubber compression curve are evaluated. Conclusions and scope for future work to develop the method are discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):121402-121402-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037626.

For decomposition and integration of systems, one needs extensive knowledge of system structure. A design structure matrix (DSM) model provides a simple, compact, and visual representation of dependencies between system elements. By permuting the rows and columns of a DSM using a clustering algorithm, the underlying structure of a system can be revealed. In this paper, we present a new DSM clustering algorithm based upon Markov clustering, that is able to cope with the presence of “bus” elements, returns multilevel clusters, is capable of clustering weighted, directed, and undirected DSMs, and allows the user to control the cluster results by tuning only three input parameters. Comparison with two algorithms from the literature shows that the proposed algorithm provides clusterings of similar quality at the expense of less central processing unit (CPU) time.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):121403. doi:10.1115/1.4037673.

For efficiently estimating the dynamic failure probability of the structure with the multiple temporal and spatial parameters, a transferred limit state function technique is first proposed in this paper. By finding the effective first-crossing point which controls the failure of the structural system, the transferred technique is constructed to transform the dynamic reliability problem into a static one. For determining the effective first-crossing point, the parameter domain is first divided into different dominant domain corresponding to every parameter. Based on the parameter dominant domain, the first-crossing point about each parameter is obtained by comparing the difference value between the point on the failure boundary and the corresponding parameter upper bound. Finally, the effective first-crossing point is determined by finding the point which controls the structure failure. With the transferred technique, two strategies (including the sparse grid integration based on fourth-moment method and the maximum entropy based on dimensional reduction method) are proposed to efficiently estimate the dynamic failure probability. Several examples are employed to illustrate the significance and effectiveness of the transferred technique and the proposed methods for solving the multiple temporal and spatial parameters dynamic reliability. The results show that the proposed methods can estimate the multiple temporal and spatial parameters dynamic failure probability efficiently and accurately.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):121404-121404-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037893.

Codesign refers to the process of integrating the optimization of the physical plant design and control of a system. In this paper, a new class of codesign problems with a multisubsystem architecture in both design and control is formulated and solved. Our work here extends earlier research on models and solution approaches from single system to multisubsystem codesign. In this class, the optimization model for the physical design part in each subsystem is assumed to have a convex objective function with convex inequality and linear equality constraints. The optimization model for the control part of each subsystem belongs to a class of finite time-horizon linear quadratic regulator (LQR) feedback control. A new multilevel decentralized method is proposed that can obtain optimal or near-optimal solutions for this class of codesign problems. Details of the model and approach are presented and demonstrated by a numerical as well as a more complex spring–mass–damper system example. The proposed decentralized approach has been compared with a centralized approach. Using a scalable test problem, it is shown that as the size of the problem is increased, the computation effort for the decentralized approach increases linearly while that of the centralized approach increases nonlinearly.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Design of Mechanisms and Robotic Systems

J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):122301-122301-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037628.

Detection of isomorphism in planar and geared kinematic chains (GKCs) is an interesting area since many years. Enumeration of planar and geared kinematic chains becomes easy only when isomorphism problem is resolved effectively. Many researchers proposed algorithms based on topological characteristics or some coding which need lot of computations and comparisons. In this paper, a novel and simple algorithm is proposed based on graph theory by which elimination of isomorphic chains can be done very easily without any tedious calculations or comparisons. A new concept “Net distance” is proposed based on the graph theory to be a quantitative measure to assess isomorphism in planar kinematic chains (PKCs) as well as GKCs. The proposed algorithm is applied on nine-link two-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) distinct kinematic chains completely and the results are presented. Algorithm is tested on examples from eight-link 1-DOF, ten-link 1-DOF, 12-link 1-DOF, and 15link 4-DOF PKCs. The algorithm is also tested on four-, six-link 1-DOF GKCs to detect isomorphism. All the results are in agreement with the existing literature.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Design of Direct Contact Systems

J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):123301-123301-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037761.

In synchronous belt drives, it is generally difficult to eliminate pulley eccentricity, because the pulley teeth and shaft hole are produced separately and the pulley is installed on an eccentric shaft. This eccentricity affects the accuracy of rotation transmission, so that the belt tension changes during a single rotation of the pulley. This in turn affects the occurrence of resonance in the spans. In the present study, the transmission error in a synchronous belt drive with an eccentric pulley in the absence of a transmitted load was experimentally investigated for the case in which the spans undergo first-mode transverse vibration due to resonance. The transmission error was found to have a component with a period equal to the span displacement, in addition to a component with a period of half the span displacement. During a single rotation of the pulley, the magnitude of the transmission error increased, and its frequency decreased, with decreasing belt tension. The transmission error exhibited the large value when two frequency conditions were satisfied: one was that the meshing frequency was within the range of span frequency variations due to the eccentricity, and the other was that the minimum span frequency was close to an integer multiple of the pulley rotation frequency. Even if both of these conditions occurred, if the range of span frequency variations due to the eccentricity was larger than 13 Hz, the transmission error could be eliminated by adjusting the belt tension, so that the average span frequency corresponded to the meshing frequency.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Brief

J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):124501-124501-5. doi:10.1115/1.4037714.

In the previous reports, analytical target cascading (ATC) is generally applied to product optimization. In this paper, the application area of ATC is expanded to trajectory optimization. Direct collocation method is utilized to convert a trajectory optimization into a nonlinear programing (NLP) problem. The converted NLP is a large-scale problem with sparse matrix of functional dependence table (FDT) suitable for the application of ATC. Three numerical case studies are provided to show the effects of ATC in solving trajectory optimization problems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):124502-124502-8. doi:10.1115/1.4037799.

The gear drive is theoretically a normal-order meshing process to transmit movement and power. When temperature variation, misalignment, manufacture error, or deformation occurs, the normal-order meshing will be destroyed. Under certain conditions, the contact point moves in the opposite direction to the normal order on the surface of the tooth. This process is called gear reverse-order meshing. The gear reverse-order meshing will lead to gear impact and generate noise during the transmission. In the study, with gear pairs with base pitch deviation as the study object, we further studied this process and expanded the application scope of the process to kinematics and dynamics. The transmission error of the gear reverse-order meshing process was deduced. Both the speed error and acceleration error were obtained. Based on the curves of these three variables, the influence of gear reverse-order meshing on gear transmission characteristic was analyzed to explore the causes for the meshing impact phenomenon. Although the gear reverse-order meshing process has some disadvantages, it could also be applied in some fields. Due to the feature of gear reverse-order meshing, it is applied to gear integrated error (GIE) measuring technique and tooth-skipped gear honing process effectively.

Topics: Gears , Errors
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J. Mech. Des. 2017;139(12):128001-128001-1. doi:10.1115/1.4038057.

The design of engineered materials and structures is a growing and increasingly impactful field of research that intersects materials science, engineering design, engineering mechanics, manufacturing, and data science. The overarching goal is to accelerate the discovery of new materials for engineering applications. The approach complements a traditionally empirical, trial-and-error approach to discovery with an inverse, requirements-driven approach that strategically leverages material databases, simulations, and engineering design algorithms and methods to synthesize new materials and structures. Papers are sought that integrate materials modeling, data collection, simulation, and prediction capabilities with engineering design methods, principles, algorithms, and tools to enable the design of new materials and structures. To be appropriate for this special issue in the Journal of Mechanical Design (JMD), papers must demonstrate an intellectual emphasis on engineering design.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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