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Actuators 2018, 7(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020020

Design and Stiffness Evaluation of a Compliant Joint with Parallel Architecture Realizing an Approximately Spherical Motion

1
Prodevco Robotic Solutions, Concord, ON L4K 2P5, Canada
2
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni, 33, I-40136 Bologna, Italy
3
Department of Mechanical, Energy, Management and Transportation Engineering, University of Genova, Via Balbi, 5, 16126 Genova, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 21 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Actuators)
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Abstract

This paper introduces the design of a fully-compliant Spherical Joint (SJ), obtained by the in-parallel connection of two identical open chains each composed of three equal circular flexible beams, having coincident centers of curvature and mutually orthogonal axes of minimum rotational stiffness. Thanks to its particular topology, the SJ provides a fully isotropic behavior, the two chains being placed in space so as to be symmetric with respect to the beams’ center of curvature. At first, the overall system compliance matrix is derived by means of an analytical procedure, in order to obtain a parametric formulation of the SJ behavior within the small deflection range. Then, after finite element validation of the analytical model, an optimization study of the beam geometry is developed, with the aim of maximizing the ratio between the SJ primary to secondary compliance factors. At last, the potential advantages and drawbacks of the proposed design are discussed by numerically evaluating the joint performance in terms of parasitic motions within the large deflection range (namely, when large external loads are applied to the envisaged center of spherical motion). View Full-Text
Keywords: compliant mechanisms/actuators; spherical joint; circular flexible beams; compliance matrix; finite element analysis; design graphs compliant mechanisms/actuators; spherical joint; circular flexible beams; compliance matrix; finite element analysis; design graphs
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Parvari Rad, F.; Vertechy, R.; Berselli, G.; Parenti-Castelli, V. Design and Stiffness Evaluation of a Compliant Joint with Parallel Architecture Realizing an Approximately Spherical Motion. Actuators 2018, 7, 20.

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