Animal locomotion and movement requires energy, and the elastic potential energy stored in skeletal muscle can facilitate movements that are otherwise energetically infeasible. A significant proportion of this energy is captured and stored in the micro- and nano-scale constituents of muscle near the point of instability between asymmetric equilibrium states. This energy may be quickly released to enable explosive macroscopic motions or to reduce the metabolic cost of cyclic movements. Inspired by these behaviors, this research explores modular metastructures of bistable element chains and develops methods to release the energy stored in higher-potential system configurations. Quasi-static investigations reveal the role of state-transition pathways on the overall efficiency of the deployment event. It is shown that sequential, local release of energy from the bistable elements is more efficient than concurrent energy release achieved by applying a force at the free end of the structure. From dynamic analyses and experiments, it is shown that that the energy released from one bistable element can be used to activate the release of energy from subsequent links, reducing the actuation energy required to extend or deploy the chain below that required for quasi-static deployment. This phenomenon is influenced by the level of asymmetry in the bistable constituents and the location of the impulse that initiates the deployment of the structure. The results provide insight into the design and behavior of asymmetrically multistable chains that can leverage stored potential energy to enable efficient and effective system deployment and length change.
Narayanan Kidambi, Yisheng Zheng, Ryan L. Harne, and K. W. Wang, "Energy release for the actuation and deployment of muscle-inspired asymmetrically multistable chains," Proc. SPIE 10595, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems XII, 1059510 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 07, 2018; Published: 15 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296583.
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