Optimization Based Design Methodology for Heavily Loaded, Large Stroke Flexure Hinges

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Abstract

Traditional kinematic joints used in large scale machinery consist of multiple rigid parts in contact, which causes wear and imposes the need for lubrication and maintenance. Compliant joints have the potential to eliminate these problems as they require less maintenance. However, these joints are not studied for large scale applications with heavy loading conditions. Due to a lack of knowledge and experience on compliant joints, engineers generally do not apply them in heavy loaded large scale applications. In this research, an optimization based design methodology is proposed for large scale, large stroke compliant revolute joints that are subjected to significant radial loads. This design methodology allows engineers to swiftly arrive at initial compliant joint-designs with optimal topology, shape, size and material, all within user defined constraints on dimensioning and material. This makes the design methodology a promising tool for facilitating the initial design phase of heavily loaded compliant revolute joints.