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Design of shape-changing machinery is an area of emerging importance. Shape-change may be used in the near future to vary the cross section of a wing, create flow-field control by altering shapes to locally affect downstream fluid behavior, or create extrusion dies with varying cross section critical in a variety of applications including automotive components. The three primary ways of creating shape-change are smart materials, compliant devices, and the focus of this research, rigid body shape-change. Each offers advantages over the other, with rigid body shape-change mechanisms providing the highest capacity to withstand loads and the easiest-to-predict behavior of the three. The goal of this research project has been to modify the synthesis theory to address shape-change where significant differences in arc length motivate the problem. In practical terms, this corresponds to a wing not only changing camber but also changing chord length in operation. The advances proposed here allow rigid-body shape change to address entirely new classes of problems. This is important as rigid body shape-change uses well established mechanical design practice once the bodies have been sized and joints located according to the new theory. These new techniques, combined with the established practice, provide a suite of design tools that allow for problems to be addressed in a fundamentally new way. Shape-changing technology has the capacity to advance manufacturing through an entirely new class of extrusion dies. The design of shape-changing spoilers, beds, wings and chairs are also being considered.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium poster

Designing Planar, Shape-Changing Rigid Body Mechanisms for Profiles with Significant Differences in Arc Length