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29 March 2010 Modeling of a high-deformation shape memory polymer locking link
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The interest in "morphing" structures that can undergo drastic shape changes has steadily grown in recent years. This paper considers a particular type of morphing structure that can exhibit significant modulus change, enabling the deformation to occur with low applied forces (and low stress in the material). Specifically, shape memory polymer is used as the enabling material, and it is transitioned from hard to soft to allow deformation, then returned to its hard state after deformation to carry structural loads. Given the large deformations of these types of structures, conventional linear mechanics models are not adequate to predict the behavior or to be used as design tools. This paper explores the use of quasi-static three-dimensional nonlinear finite element modeling to study the force deformation behavior of a morphing link. The modeling approach for the morphing process is shown to produce results that are representative of experimental observations. In addition, capabilities are explored to use the numerical methods to study the potential of partial transitioning of the link, in which only a portion of the shape memory polymer material is transitioned. By transitioning only a portion of the link, the power and transition time can be reduced without compromising the applied forces or final shape, and the functionality of the link can be increased as well. The results point to the nonlinear modeling as a promising tool for optimizing the design and operation of morphing structures.
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William W. Clark, John C. Brigham, Changki Mo, and Shiv Joshi "Modeling of a high-deformation shape memory polymer locking link", Proc. SPIE 7645, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2010, 764507 (29 March 2010);

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