Abstract

In this paper, we present PennSyn, a software with graphical user interface that provides an automated design route from function specifications to fabrication of fully compliant mechanisms. PennSyn uses the notion of maximizing the flexibility and stiffness of a continuum simultaneously through multi-criteria objectives for the topology synthesis of compliant mechanisms. Both the optimality criteria and quasi Newton mathematical programming methods are employed as optimization algorithms in PennSyn. Reliability in the optimality criteria method is ensured using a one variable search while the volume constraint is addressed by global resizing of variables without altering the function value locally. The design continuum is represented using ground structures of linear truss and frame finite elements. These element types are easy and robust in implementation and help provide effortless extraction and transfer of optimal topologies into commercial CAD packages. An edge detection algorithm is used with PennSyn for boundary extraction of optimal compliant geometries. The resulting data is stored in IGES format for easy portability into commercial modeling and analysis software packages.

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