Design of contact-aided compliant cellular mechanisms with curved walls

Samantha A. Cirone, Gregory R. Hayes, Brian L. Babcox, Mary Frecker, James H. Adair, George A. Lesieutre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1773-1785
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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