On topology optimization of large deformation contact-aided shape morphing compliant mechanisms

Prabhat Kumar*, Roger A. Sauer, Anupam Saxena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A topology optimization approach for designing large deformation contact-aided shape morphing compliant mechanisms is presented. Such mechanisms can be used in varying operating conditions. Design domains are described by regular hexagonal elements. Negative circular masks are employed to perform dual task, i.e., to decide material states of each element and also, to generate rigid contact surfaces. Each mask is characterized by five design variables, which are mutated by a zero-order based hill-climbing optimizer. Geometric and material nonlinearities are considered. Continuity in normals to boundaries of the candidate designs is ensured using a boundary resolution and smoothing scheme. Nonlinear mechanical equilibrium equations are solved using the Newton–Raphson method. An updated Lagrange approach in association with segment-to-segment contact method is employed for the contact formulation. Both mutual and self contact modes are permitted. Efficacy of the approach is demonstrated by designing four contact-aided shape morphing compliant mechanisms for different desired curves. Performance of the deformed profiles is verified using a commercial software. The effect of frictional contact surface on the actual profile is also studied.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104135
JournalMechanism and Machine Theory
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Shape morphing compliant mechanisms
  • Topology optimization
  • Boundary resolution and smoothing
  • Fourier shape descriptors
  • Self and mutual contact
  • Nonlinear finite element analysis

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