Chengwei Shi



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The goal of this research is to develop mechanical designs of spatial shape-changing linkages. Mechanical systems often benefit from the capacity to vary between specific shapes in a controlled manner, such as a morphing aircraft wing that can adapt to different in-flight requirements. Spatial shape-changing linkages consist of a chain of three-dimensional bodies connected with ball joints. When the chain segments are repositioned, they match a set of arbitrary spatial curves. These chains are composed of two segments types: a twisted rigid segment and a helical segment with constant curvature and torsion but varying length. The research project involves creating the mechanical designs of the segments and motion control schemes that move the chain from the origin position to the target position. Animations are created in SolidWorks that demonstrate various motion schemes and illustrate the chain’s approximation to the target spatial curves.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

Design Modeling of Spatial Shape-Change Linkages