Pseudo-rigid-body dynamic models for design of compliant members

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Movement in compliant mechanisms is achieved, at least in part, via deformable flexible members, rather than using articulating joints. These flexible members are traditionally modeled using finite element analysis (FEA)-based models. In this article, an alternative strategy for modeling compliant cantilever beams is developed with the objectives of reducing computational expense and providing accuracy with respect to design optimization solutions. The method involves approximating the response of a flexible beam with an n-link/m-joint pseudo-rigid-body dynamic model (PRBDM). Traditionally, static pseudo-rigid-body models (PRBMs) have shown an approximation of compliant elements using two or three revolute joints (2R/3R-PRBM). In this study, a more general nR-PRBDM model is developed. The first n resonant frequencies of the PRBDM are matched to exact or FEA solutions to approximate the response of the compliant system and compared with existing PRBMs. PRBDMs can be used for co-design studies of flexible structural members and are capable of modeling large deflections of compliant elements. We demonstrate PRBDMs that show dynamically accurate response for a random geometry cantilever beam by matching the steady-state and frequency response, with dynamical response accuracies up to 10% using a 5R-PRBDM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031116
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Compliant mechanisms
  • Multiobjective optimization
  • Simulation-based design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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