Automation and topological optimization of multi-stable equilibrium systems

Kollata, Eashwer C. V.
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Multi-Stable Equilibrium Systems are mechanical systems, possibly composed of subsystems described by other energy domains (i.e. electrical, magnetic, chemical, hydraulic, pneumatic, etc.), that has more than one statically stable equilibrium state. A stable equilibrium is defined as a state in which the system has minimum potential energy. The key aspect of the MSE systems is that they can act as passive structures for the vast majority of time, only requiring actuation to move among stable positions or about the current equilibrium point. This characteristic feature of MSE systems puts it into a unique position of advantage to be used in fulfilling the designers’ requirement within the constraints of available energy and space. They give a great variety and flexibility to the designer to come up with more novel and efficient designs. MSE systems find many applications in the area of Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), especially in optical fibers. The heuristic and stochastic search algorithms used in automating the synthesis of such complex systems are capable of searching large areas in short period of time within the constraints of the problem as a part of design automation methodology. This thesis proposes a system to generate compliant multi-stable equilibrium devices using concepts of topological optimization. The software developed produces very interesting results and promises to be a great start for a field of immense potential