Pragmatic Design of Compliant Mechanisms using Selection Maps
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A pragmatic method for designing compliant mechanisms is developed in this thesis, by selecting among existing mechanisms one that may be modified as required. This method complements existing techniques by answering questions of the existence and multiplicity of solutions for the given specifications of a practical problem. The premise for the method is a 2D map that juxta- poses the problem-specifications and the characteristics of compliant mechanisms in a database. The selection of the most suitable mechanisms is similar to Ashby's method of material selection. In our method, stuffiness, inertia, and the inherent kinematic characteristics of compliant mechanisms are analogous to material properties in Ashby's method. These characteristics capture the lumped behavior of compliant mechanisms in static and dynamic situations using spring-lever (SL) and spring-mass-lever (SML) models. The work includes the development of computation- ally efficient methods to compute the SL and SML model characteristics of single-input and single-output compliant mechanisms. Also developed in this work is a method to determine a feasible map by solving the governing equations of equilibrium and several inequalities pertaining to problem- specifications. The map helps not only in assessing the feasibility of the specifications but also in re-designing the mechanisms in predetermined ways to nd multiple solutions, all of which account for practical considerations. The method pays due attention to the overall size, strength considerations, manufacturability, and choice of material. It also enables minimal alterations of the problem-specifications when the user prefers a particular mechanism in the database. All these features are implemented in a web-based Java program with a graphical user interface that can be accessed at http://www.mecheng.iisc.ernet.in/ m2d2/CM design. Six case- studies that include micro machined inertial sensors, miniature valve mechanisms, ultra-sensitive force sensors, etc., are documented in detail to demonstrate the usefulness of the method in practice.