Large elastic deformations in bimetallic non-standard geometries

V. Charpentier, L. Rhode-Barbarigos, S. Adriaenssens, O. Baverel, K. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elements composed of bimetallic materials have been available for decades providing actuation through thermal elastic deformations in devices such as thermostats (e.g. domestic appliances), compensation for temperature changes in clock mechanisms as well as electrical circuit breakers. However, recent architectural projects have extended their use in large-scale applications and highlighted their potential as actuation devices in adaptive structures. For the implementation of bimetallic elements in large-scale and complex-shaped implementations, a combination of existing theory, experimental testing and numerical modeling is required. This paper focuses on modeling the behavior of bimetallic elements with complex shapes. Three bimetallic elements selected for their anticipated deformed shapes and potential architectural implementations are investigated numerically and experimentally. Through a parametric study, the geometry of the elements is found to significantly affect their behavior. Geometry can be thus effectively used to trigger large deformations in bimetallic elements. However, for complex shaped elements the influence of geometrical parameters is not always easy to predict. This study extends current knowledge on bimetallic elements for more complex shapes providing support for their implementation in novel adaptive architectural applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCivil-Comp Proceedings
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • Adaptive architecture
  • Bimetallic elements
  • Form-finding
  • Numerical modeling
  • Physical modeling


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