Integrated Design and Simulation of Tunable, Multi-State Structures Fabricated Monolithically with Multi-Material 3D Printing

Tian Chen, Jochen Mueller, Kristina Shea
2017 Scientific Reports  
Multi-material 3D printing has created new opportunities for fabricating deployable structures. We design reversible, deployable structures that are fabricated flat, have defined load bearing capacity, and multiple, predictable activated geometries. These structures are designed with a hierarchical framework where the proposed bistable actuator serves as the base building block. The actuator is designed to maximise its stroke length, with the expansion ratio approaching one when serially
more » ... ed. The activation force of the actuator is parameterised through its joint material and joint length. Simulation and experimental results show that the bistability triggering force can be tuned between 0.5 and 5.0 N. Incorporating this bistable actuator, the first group of hierarchical designs demonstrate the deployment of space frame structures with a tetrahedron module consisting of three active edges, each containing four serially connected actuators. The second group shows the design of flat structures that assume either positive or negative Gaussian curvature once activated. By flipping the initial configuration of the unit actuators, structures such as a dome and an enclosure are demonstrated. A modified Dynamic Relaxation method is used to simulate all possible geometries of the hierarchical structures. Measured geometries differ by less than 5% compared to simulation results.
doi:10.1038/srep45671 pmid:28361891 pmcid:PMC5374496 fatcat:kol2aeb2mfb5lplz5bncps633i