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Mechanism Design with Singularity Avoidance of Crystal-Inspired Deployable Structures

Key Laboratory of Concrete and Prestressed Concrete Structures of Ministry of Education, and National Prestress Engineering Research Center, Southeast University, Nanjing 211189, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Crystals 2019, 9(8), 421;
Received: 11 July 2019 / Revised: 9 August 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Crystal Engineering)
PDF [3741 KB, uploaded 14 August 2019]


Although deployable structures have important applications in various fields, developing a new form of structural configuration faces some scientific challenges. Furthermore, kinematic singularity frequently exists in these structures, which has a negative impact on deployment performance and stiffness. To deal with these problems, this paper obtains inspiration from crystals on two-dimensional (2D) space, and aims at developing symmetric deployable structures assembled by identical link members and periodic units. Mobility and compatibility conditions of crystal-inspired deployable structures are given, and a detailed design for novel joints with bevels gears is proposed to avoid singularity of these symmetric structures. According to feasible solutions to the compatibility conditions, several types of deployable structures are developed and verified to be mobile with a single degree of freedom. The results show that the proposed joint with bevel gears has a satisfactory singularity avoidance capability, and the assembled structures exhibit a good deployment performance. Because a crystal-inspired deployable structure can be gradually deployed to cover a large area, it has a potential engineering application as a macroscopic or mesoscale structure. View Full-Text
Keywords: crystal; deployable structure; folding; singularity; internal mechanism; symmetry crystal; deployable structure; folding; singularity; internal mechanism; symmetry

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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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Chen, Y.; Yan, J.; Feng, J. Mechanism Design with Singularity Avoidance of Crystal-Inspired Deployable Structures. Crystals 2019, 9, 421.

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