In this paper, we investigate power flow in compliant mechanisms that are employed in dynamic applications. More specifically, we identify various elements of the energy storage and transfer between the input, external load, and strain energy stored within the compliant transmission. The goal is to design compliant mechanisms for dynamic applications by exploiting the inherent energy storage capability of compliant mechanisms in the most effective manner. We present a detailed case study on a flapping mechanism, in which we compare the peak input power requirement in a rigid-body mechanism with attached springs versus a distributed compliant mechanism. Through this case study, we present two approaches: (1) generative-load exploitation and (2) reactance cancellation, to describe the role of stored elastic energy in reducing the peak input power requirement. We propose a compliant flapping mechanism and its evaluation using nonlinear transient analysis. The input power needed to drive the proposed compliant flapping mechanism is found to be 50% less than a rigid-link four-bar flapping mechanism without a spring, and 15% less than the one with a spring. This reduction of peak input power is primarily due to the exploitation of elasticity in compliant members. The results show that a compliant mechanism can be a better alternative to a rigid-body mechanism with attached springs.
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Design of Compliant Mechanisms for Minimizing Input Power in Dynamic Applications
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Tantanawat, T., and Kota, S. (October 25, 2006). "Design of Compliant Mechanisms for Minimizing Input Power in Dynamic Applications." ASME. J. Mech. Des. October 2007; 129(10): 1064–1075. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2756086
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