Design optimization of a twist compliant mechanism with nonlinear stiffness Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd. 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.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Tummala, Y., Frecker, M. I., Wissa, A. A., & Hubbard, J.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Tummala, Y||Frecker, MI||Wissa, AA||Hubbard, JE Jr

publication date

  • January 2014