Structural topology has a large impact on the flexural stiffness of a beam structure. Reversible attachment between discrete substructures allows for control of shear stress transfer between structural elements, thus stiffness modulation. Electrostatic adhesion has shown promise for providing a reversible latching mechanism for controllable internal connectivity. Building on previous research, a thin film copper polyimide laminate has been used to incorporate high voltage electrodes to Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) sandwich structures. The level of electrostatic holding force across the electrode interface is key to the achievable level of stiffness modulation. The use of non-flat interlocking core structures can allow for a significant increase in electrode contact area for a given core geometry, thus a greater electrostatic holding force. Interlocking core geometries based on cosine waves can be Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machined from Rohacell IGF 110 Foam core. These Interlocking Core structures could allow for enhanced variable stiffness functionality compared to basic planar electrodes. This novel concept could open up potential new applications for electrostatically induced variable stiffness structures.
Callum J. C. Heath, Ian P. Bond, and Kevin D. Potter, "Variable stiffness sandwich panels using electrostatic interlocking core," Proc. SPIE 9799, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016, 97992A (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 24, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218835.
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