Design and optimization of a bend-and-sweep compliant mechanism

Y. Tummala, M. I. Frecker, A. A. Wissa, J. E. Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094019
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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