Mary Frecker

William Penn University, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (124)90.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are proliferating in both the civil and military markets. Flapping wing UAVs, or ornithopters, have the potential to combine the agility and maneuverability of rotary wing aircraft with excellent performance in the low Reynolds number flight regimes. The purpose of this paper is to present new free flight experimental results for an ornithopter equipped with single degree of freedom compliant spines. The compliant spines are designed and optimized in terms of mass, maximum von-Mises stress, and desired wing bending deflections. The spines are inserted in an experimental ornithopter wing leading edge spar, in order to achieve a set of desired kinematics during the up and down strokes of a flapping cycle. The ornithopter is flown at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in the Air Force Research Laboratory Small Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) indoor flight facility. Vicon (R) motion tracking cameras are used to track the motion of the vehicle for four different wing configurations. The effect of the presence of the compliant spine on the wings and body kinematics, as well as the leading edge spar deflection during free flight is presented in this paper. Several metrics were used to evaluate the vehicle performance with various compliant spine designs inserted in the leading edge spar of the wings. Results show that passively morphing the wings, via adding compliance in the leading edge spar, does not require additional power expenditure and is beneficial to the overall vertical and horizontal propulsive force production.
    03/2015; 7(1):21-40. DOI:10.1260/1756-8293.7.1.21
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    ABSTRACT: The overall goal of this research is to develop design optimization methodologies for compliant mechanisms that will provide passive shape change. Our previous work has focused on designing two separate contact-aided compliant elements (CCE): one for bend-and-sweep deflections, called the bend-and-sweep compliant element (BSCE), and another for twist deflection, called the twist compliant element (TCE). In the current paper, all three degrees of freedom, namely bending, twist, and sweep, are achieved simultaneously using a single passive contact-aided compliant mechanism. A new objective function for a contact-aided compliant mechanism is introduced and the results of the optimization procedure are presented. A bend-twist-and-sweep compliant element (BTSCE) can be inserted into the leading edge spar of an ornithopter, which is an avian-scale flapping wing un-manned air vehicle. The multiple objective functions of the optimization problem presented in this paper are: for upstroke, maximize tip bending and sweep deflections, maximize twist angle, and minimize the mass and peak von Mises stress in the BTSCE, and for downstroke, minimize tip bending and sweep deflections, minimize twist angle, and minimize the mass and peak von Mises stress in the BTSCE. This allows a designer to select a CCE from a set of optimal designs to accomplish all three displacement goals. The BTSCE was modeled using a commercial finite element program and optimized using NSGA-II, a genetic algorithm. The results for a single angled compliant joint (ACJ) for quasi-static upstroke loading conditions are presented. Two optimal designs are discussed and compared, one with a moderate peak stress and moderate deflections, the other with a high peak stress and large deflections. The optimization results are then compared to the previous results for the two independent CCEs. A design study showed that the angle of the ACJ needs to be obtuse to achieve a positive twist angle during upstroke, and an acute contact angle reduces peak stress. The deflection objective functions were relatively insensitive to eccentricity for upstroke and downstroke compared to the other parameters, and a high stress penalty was paid for any gains in deflection. The downstroke objective functions were relatively insensitive to all parameters compared to the upstroke objective functions, and were much smaller in magnitude. The optimization showed that under simplified upstroke loading conditions, the BTSCE with a single ACJ allowed bending deflection near 30% of the length of the BTSCE, twist angle near 0.14 radians, and sweep deflection near 5% of the length of the BTSCE.
    ASME SMASIS, Newport, RI; 09/2014
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    ABSTRACT: A contact-aided compliant mechanism called a twist compliant mechanism (TCM) is presented in this paper. This mechanism has nonlinear stiffness when it is twisted in both directions along its axis. The inner core of the mechanism is primarily responsible for its flexibility in one twisting direction. The contact surfaces of the cross-members and compliant sectors are primarily responsible for its high stiffness in the opposite direction. A desired twist angle in a given direction can be achieved by tailoring the stiffness of a TCM. The stiffness of a compliant twist mechanism can be tailored by varying thickness of its cross-members, thickness of the core and thickness of its sectors. A multi-objective optimization problem with three objective functions is proposed in this paper, and used to design an optimal TCM with desired twist angle. The objective functions are to minimize the mass and maximum von-Mises stress observed, while minimizing or maximizing the twist angles under specific loading conditions. The multi-objective optimization problem proposed in this paper is solved for an ornithopter flight research platform as a case study, with the goal of using the TCM to achieve passive twisting of the wing during upstroke, while keeping the wing fully extended and rigid during the downstroke. Prototype TCMs have been fabricated using 3D printing and tested. Testing results are also presented in this paper.
    Smart Materials and Structures 09/2014; 23(10):104010. DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/23/10/104010 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Origami engineering – the use of origami principles in engineering applications – provides numerous opportunities to revolutionize the way we design, manufacture, assemble, and package products and devices. By combining origami principles with active materials, we can create reconfigurable products and devices that can fold and unfold on demand. In origami, the folded medium is paper, yet many engineering applications require materials with finite thickness to provide the necessary strength and stiffness to achieve the desired functionality. In such applications, it is important to distinguish between bending and folding so that we understand the differences in material behavior when actuated. In this paper, we propose definitions for bending and folding for materials used in engineering applications. The literature is reviewed in detail to provide context and support for the proposed definitions, and examples from our own research with active materials, specifically, magneto-active elastomers (MAE) and dielectric elastomers (DE), are used to illustrate the subtle, yet important, differences between bending and folding in materials with finite thickness.
    International Design and Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE), Buffalo, New York; 08/2014
  • S Ahmed · Z Ounaies · M Frecker
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    ABSTRACT: Origami engineering aims to combine origami principles with advanced materials to yield active origami shapes, which fold and unfold in response to external stimuli. This paper explores the potential and limitations of dielectric elastomers (DEs) as the enabling material in active origami engineering. DEs are compliant materials in which the coupled electro-mechanical actuation takes advantage of their low modulus and high breakdown strength. Until recently, prestraining of relatively thick DE materials was necessary in order to achieve the high electric fields needed to trigger electrostatic actuation without inducing a dielectric breakdown. Although prestrain improves the breakdown strength of the DE films and reduces the voltage required for actuation, the need for a solid frame to retain the prestrain state is a limitation for the practical implementation of DEs, especially for active origami structures. However, the recent availability of thinner DE materials (50 μm, 130 μm, 260 μm) has made DEs a likely medium for active origami. In this work, the folding and unfolding of DE multilayered structures, along with the realization of origami-inspired 3D shapes, are explored. In addition, an exhaustive study on the fundamentals of DE actuation is done by directly investigating the thickness actuation mechanism and comparing their performance using different electrode types. Finally, changes in dielectric permittivity as a function of strain, electrode type and applied electric field are assessed and analyzed. These fundamental studies are key to obtaining more dramatic folding and to realizing active origami structures using DE materials.
    Smart Materials and Structures 08/2014; 23(9):094003. DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/23/9/094003 · 2.45 Impact Factor
  • Kevin McGough · Saad Ahmed · Mary Frecker · Zoubeida Ounaies
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    ABSTRACT: The field of active origami explores the incorporation of active materials into origami-inspired structures in order to serve as a means of actuation. Active origami-inspired structures capable of folding into complex three-dimensional (3D) shapes have the potential to be lightweight and versatile compared to traditional methods of actuation. This paper details the finite element analysis and experimental validation of unimorph actuators. Actuators are fabricated by adhering layers of electroded dielectric elastomer (3M VHB F9473PC) onto a passive substrate layer (3M Magic Scotch Tape). Finite element analysis of the actuators simulates the electromechanical coupling of the dielectric elastomer under an applied voltage by applying pressures to the surfaces of the dielectric elastomer where the compliant electrode (conductive carbon grease) is present. 3D finite element analysis of the bending actuators shows that applying contact boundary conditions to the electroded region of the active and passive layers provides better agreement to experimental data compared to modeling the entire actuator as continuous. To improve the applicability of dielectric elastomer-based actuators for active origami-inspired structures, folding actuators are developed by taking advantage of localized deformation caused by a passive layer with non-uniform thickness. Two-dimensional analysis of the folding actuators shows that agreement to experimental data diminishes as localized deformation increases. Limitations of using pressures to approximate the electromechanical coupling of the dielectric elastomer under an applied electric field and additional modeling considerations are also discussed.
    Smart Materials and Structures 08/2014; 23(9):094002. DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/23/9/094002 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    Smart Materials and Structures 08/2014; 23(9):090201. DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/23/9/090201 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A contact-aided compliant mechanism (CCM) called a compliant spine (CS) is presented in this paper. It is flexible when bending in one direction and stiff when bending in the opposite direction, giving it a nonlinear bending stiffness. The fundamental element of this mechanism is a compliant joint (CJ), which consists of a compliant hinge (CH) and contact surfaces. The design of the compliant joint and the number of compliant joints in a compliant spine determine its stiffness. This paper presents the design and optimization of such a compliant spine. A multi-objective optimization problem with three objectives is formulated in order to perform the design optimization of the compliant spine. The goal of the optimization is to minimize the peak stress and mass while maximizing the deflection, subject to geometric and other constraints. Flapping wing unmanned air vehicles, also known as ornithopters, are used as a case study in this paper to test the accuracy of the design optimization procedure and to prove the efficacy of the compliant spine design. The optimal compliant spine designs obtained from the optimization procedure are fabricated, integrated into the ornithopter's wing leading edge spar, and flight tested. Results from the flight tests prove the ability of the compliant spine to produce an asymmetry in the ornithopter's wing kinematics during the up and down strokes.
    Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics 06/2014; 6(3):031013. DOI:10.1115/1.4027702 · 0.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of origami engineering is to combine origami principles with advanced materials to yield active origami shapes, which fold and unfold in response to external stimuli. We are investigating the use of P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE), a relaxor ferroelectric terpolymer, to realize origami-inspired folding and unfolding of structures and also to actuate paper made origami actuators. Different approaches have been undertaken, ranging from unimorph configuration to multilayered/stacked actuator configuration, to achieve electrostriction based origami structures Apart from building active origami structures, both quasi-static and dynamic thickness strain (1Hz, 10Hz) for induced electric field have been measured and compared. Furthermore, electromechanical characterization has been done by conducting force displacement characterization of multilayered terpolymer actuators
    MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit, San Francisco,CA,USA; 04/2014
  • Saad Ahmed · Kevin McGough · Zoubeida Ounaies · Mary Frecker
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    ABSTRACT: We are investigating the use of dielectric elastomers (DE) to realize origami-inspired folding and unfolding of structures. DEs are compliant materials where the coupled electro-mechanical actuation takes advantage of the low modulus and high breakdown strength of the elastomer. Until recently, pre-straining of relatively thick DE materials was necessary in order to achieve the high electric fields required to trigger electrostatic actuation. However, the current availability of thinner DE materials (ex: VHB 9469PC-130μm, VHB 9473 PC −260 μm) has enabled their actuation at achievable electric fields without the need to pre-strain. In this work, an exhaustive study on the fundamentals of DE actuation is done by exploring thickness actuation mechanism and studying the change in dielectric permittivity; we also take advantage of the thin DEs to build actuators with very large bending angles. In particular, we relate the electrostatically-induced thickness contraction in a DE monomorph to the resulting bending once an inactive substrate is added. Both statically and dynamically induced electromechanical thickness strains are measured, and the experimental data is used as an input to a bender model to predict and optimize bending response; variables such as type of inactive material, number of DE layers, and type of electrodes are examined. We will also experimentally track the changes in the dielectric constant as a function of strain, electrode type, and applied electric field; the measured behavior will be used to model thickness and bending actuation. These fundamental studies are necessary to determine ability and limitation of DE materials in a bender configuration. Finally, bending of the DE actuator is transformed into folding by a novel geometric approach, where different shaped notches are introduced in the inactive substrate. The folding configuration is a step towards realizing active origami structure.
    ASME 2013 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems; 09/2013
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    ABSTRACT: A device that can provide articulation to surgical tool tips is needed in natural orifice transluminal endoscopy surgery (NOTES). In this paper, we propose a compliant articulation structure that uses superelastic NiTiNOL to achieve a large deflection angle and force in a compact size. Six geometric parameters are used to define this structure, and constraints based on the fabrication process are imposed. Using finite element analysis, a family of designs is evaluated in terms of the free deflection angle and blocked force. The same family of designs is evaluated for both NiTiNOL and stainless steel. It can be seen that significant benefits are observed when using NiTiNOL compared to 316 stainless steel; a maximum free deflection angle of 64.8° and maximum blocked force of 24.7 N are predicted. The structures are designed to avoid stress concentrations, and design guidelines are recommended. The meso-scale articulation structure is fabricated using both a Coherent Avia Q-switched, 355 nm laser and a Myachi Unitek 200 W single mode pulsed fiber laser with active water cooling. Select fabricated structures are then tested to validate the finite element models.
    Smart Materials and Structures 08/2013; 22(9):094018. DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/22/9/094018 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel contact aided compliant mechanism called bend-and-sweep compliant mechanism is presented in this paper. This mechanism has nonlinear stiffness properties in two orthogonal directions. An angled compliant joint (ACJ) is the fundamental element of this mechanism. Geometric parameters of ACJs determine the stiffness of the compliant mechanism. This paper presents the design and optimization of bend-and-sweep compliant mechanism. A multi-objective optimization problem was formulated for design optimization of the bend-and-sweep compliant mechanism. The objectives of the optimization problem were to maximize or minimize the bending and sweep displacements, depending on the situation, while minimizing the von Mises stress and mass of each mechanism. This optimization problem was solved using NSGA-II (a genetic algorithm). The results of this optimization for a single ACJ during upstroke and downstroke are presented in this paper. Results of two different loading conditions used during optimization of a single ACJ for upstroke are presented. Finally, optimization results comparing the performance of compliant mechanisms with one and two ACJs are also presented. It can be inferred from these results that the number of ACJs and the design of each ACJ determines the stiffness of the bend-and-sweep compliant mechanism. These mechanisms can be used in various applications. The goal of this research is to improve the performance of ornithopters by passively morphing their wings. In order to achieve a bio-inspired wing gait called continuous vortex gait, the wings of the ornithopter need to bend, and sweep simultaneously. This can be achieved by inserting the bend-and-sweep compliant mechanism into the leading edge wing spar of the ornithopters.
    Smart Materials and Structures 08/2013; 22(9):094019. DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/22/9/094019 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of origami principles to create 3-dimensional shapes has the potential to revolutionize active material structures and compliant mechanisms. Active origami structures can be applied to a broad range of areas such as reconfigurable aircraft and deployable space structures as well as instruments for minimally invasive surgery. Our current research is focused on dielectric elastomer (DE) and magneto active elastomer (MAE) materials to create multi-field responsive structures. Such multi-field responsive structures will integrate the DE and MAE materials to enable active structures that fold/unfold in different ways in response to electric and/or magnetic field. They can also unfold either as a result of eliminating the applied field or in response to the application of an opposite field. This concept is demonstrated in a folding cube shape and induced locomotion in the MAE material. Two finite element models are developed for both the DE and MAE materials and validated through physical testing of these materials. The models are then integrated to demonstrate multi-field responses of a bi-fold multi-field responsive structure. The bi fold model is designed to fold about one axis in an electric field and a perpendicular axis in a magnetic field. Future modeling efforts and research directions are also discussed based on these preliminary results.
    Proceedings of the ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference IDETC/CIE 2013, Portland, Oregon, USA; 08/2013
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    Valerie Y. Goemans · Just L. Herder · Mary I. Frecker
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    ABSTRACT: Compliant mechanisms have many advantages over rigid-link mechanisms. However, one of the challenges of compliant mechanisms is the trade-off between a large range of motion and a high out-of-plane stiffness. Furthermore, the out-of-plane stiffness is shown to vary over the range of motion. Especially for large-displacement compliant mechanisms this can be by a significant amount. In this paper the use of curved beam elements in a compliant mechanism is shown to have impact on this trade-off. The influence of curved beam elements on the out-of-plane stiffness over the entire range of motion is presented for simple structures such as a single beam element and double beam elements, as well as a compliant finger. With the use of a genetic algorithm optimization, the difference in performance of a design with only straight beam elements versus one with curved beam elements is highlighted and the effect on the out-of-plane stiffness profile is presented. The optimization with curved beam elements results in solutions with a performance in terms of objective function values that cannot be found by the optimization with only straight beam elements. It is shown that for simple structures the use of curved beam elements has a large influence on the shape of the out-of-plane stiffness profile along the range of motion, while for the compliant finger the influence is mainly in the variables of the out-of-plane stiffness profile.
    ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference; 08/2013
  • Mary Frecker
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    ABSTRACT: An approach for synthesizing compliant mechanisms using topology optimization to meet particular functional needs is described. Topology optimization techniques are especially useful when the designer does not have a particular compliant mechanism already in mind and can also be used to augment intuition-based or experience-based compliant mechanism designs. Topology optimization is used to design a flexible structure with a specified output displacement in response to the input force. There have been a number of formulations developed to handle the tradeoff between flexibility and stiffness in compliant mechanism design. There are two main approaches to parameterization for topology optimization of compliant mechanisms: the ground structure approach and the continuum approach. Various optimization solution algorithms are used in conjunction with compliant mechanism topology design.
    Handbook of Compliant Mechanisms, 02/2013: pages 93-107; , ISBN: 9781119953456
  • Vipul Mehta · Mary Frecker · George A. Lesieutre
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    ABSTRACT: A methodology for topology optimization to the design of compliant cellular mechanisms with and without internal contact is presented. A two-step procedure is pursued. First, a baseline noncontact mechanism is developed and optimized via an inverse homogenization method using the "solid isotropic material with penalization" approach. This compliant mechanism is optimized to yield specified elasticity coefficients, with the capability to sustain large effective strains by minimizing local linear elastic strain. In the second step, a system of internal contacts is designed. The initial continuum model of a noncontact mechanism is converted into a frame model, and possible contact links are defined. A computationally efficient algorithm is employed to eliminate those mechanisms having overlapping contact links. The remaining nonoverlapping designs are exhaustively investigated for stress relief. A differential evolution optimizer is used to maximize the stress relief. The results generated for a range of specified elasticity coefficients include a honeycomb-like cell, an auxetic cell, and a diamond-shaped cell. These various cell topologies have different effective properties corresponding to different structural requirements. For each such topology, a contact mechanism is devised that demonstrates stress relief. In one such case, the contact mechanism increases the strain magnification ratio by about 30%. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4007694]
    Journal of Mechanical Design 12/2012; 134(12):121001. DOI:10.1115/1.4007694 · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Contact-aided compliant cellular mechanisms are cellular structures designed with contact mechanisms integrated into each cell to provide stress relief. This article addresses compliant cellular structures having curved walls and internal contact mechanisms. The use of curved walls in cellular structures tends to improve their performance in terms of global strain capability and is beneficial for fabrication. In some cells, the addition of contact mechanisms results in stress relief, allowing the cells to be stretched farther than they could without contact. The cellular structures with curved walls are modeled, and finite element analysis is used to calculate the maximum global strains for comparable noncontact and contact-aided cells. An optimization procedure is performed to find the cell geometries that result in the highest global strains. Strains of up to 32.4% and 19.7% are predicted for the optimized curved noncontact and contact-aided cells, respectively. Additionally, a comparison of curved and noncurved, noncontact and contact-aided cells shows that the addition of curved walls results in a significantly greater improvement in global strains than that gained by adding a contact mechanism. Mesoscale contact-aided compliant cellular mechanism designs are fabricated via the lost mold–rapid infiltration forming process and are tested using a custom-designed test rig.
    Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures 11/2012; 23(16):1773-1785. DOI:10.1177/1045389X12453962 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Contact aided compliant mechanisms are a class of compliant mechanisms where parts of the mechanism come into contact with one another during motion. Such mechanisms can have nonlinear stiffness, cause stress-relief, or generate non-smooth paths. New contact aided compliant mechanisms called bend-and-sweep compliant mechanisms are presented in this paper. These bend-and-sweep mechanisms are made up of compliant joints which are alternately located in two orthogonal directions, and they also exhibit nonlinear stiffness in two orthogonal directions. The stiffness properties of these mechanisms, in each direction, can be tailored by varying the geometry of the compliant joints. One application of these mechanisms is in the passive wing morphing of flapping wing UAVs or ornithopters. A design study is conducted to understand the effect of hinge geometry on the deflections and maximum von Mises stress during upstroke and downstroke. It is shown that the bend-and-sweep compliant elements deflect as desired in both the bending and sweep directions.
    ASME 2012 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems; 09/2012
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    A A Wissa · Y Tummala · J E Hubbard Jr · M I Frecker
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    ABSTRACT: Ornithopters or flapping wing uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) have potential applications in civil and military sectors. Amongst the UAVs, ornithopters have a unique ability to fly in low Reynolds number flight regimes and also have the agility and maneuverability of rotary wing aircraft. In nature, birds achieve such performance by exploiting various wing kinematics known as gaits. The objective of this work is to improve the steady level flight performance of an ornithopter by implementing a continuous vortex gait using a novel passive compliant spine inserted in the ornithopter’s wings. This paper presents an optimal compliant spine concept for ornithopter applications. A quasi-static design optimization procedure was formulated to design the compliant spine. Finite element analysis was performed on a first generation spine and the spine was fabricated. This prototype was then tested by inserting it into an ornithopter’s wing leading edge spar. The effect of inserting the compliant spine into the wings on the electric power required, the aerodynamic loads and the wing kinematics was studied. The ornithopter with the compliant spines inserted in its wings consumed 45% less power and produced an additional 16% of its weight in mean lift compared to the same ornithopter without the compliant spine. The results indicate that this passive morphing approach is promising for improved steady level flight performance.
    Smart Materials and Structures 09/2012; 21(9). DOI:10.1088/0964-1726/21/9/094028 · 2.45 Impact Factor
  • Jennifer E. Hyland · Mary I. Frecker · George A. Lesieutre
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents the optimization of hexagonal honeycomb structures with internal contact mechanisms for energy absorption applications. While extensive work has been reported in the literature on traditional honeycombs of varying geometries under dynamic and static loading, contact-aided compliant cellular mechanisms under quasi-static crushing or impact have not been previously considered. This paper addresses this void through the optimization of a hexagonal honeycomb unit cell containing a contact mechanism. An optimization problem is formulated that maximizes the strain energy per area of a contact-aided compliant cellular mechanism. Two- and three-variable optimization problems are considered, using variables that define the cell geometry and the initial contact gap. It is found that with the addition of a contact mechanism, more strain energy can be absorbed when compared to the same cell without a contact mechanism.
    ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference; 08/2012

Publication Stats

2k Citations
90.43 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2015
    • William Penn University
      Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999–2014
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • • Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
      • • Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
      University Park, Maryland, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Dayton
      Dayton, Ohio, United States
  • 1998–2003
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Mechanical Engineering
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States