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Snap-through of bistable variable stiffness laminates using MFC actuators

Anilkumar, P. M., Haldar, A., Jansen, E. L., Rao, B. N. and Rolfes, R. 2021. Snap-through of bistable variable stiffness laminates using MFC actuators. Composite Structures 266 , 113694. 10.1016/j.compstruct.2021.113694

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Unsymmetric composite laminates exhibit two or more stable equilibrium shapes with opposite curvature as a result of residual thermal stresses induced during the curing process. Surface bonded Macro Fibre Composite (MFC) actuators are generally employed to trigger snap-through between one stable shape to another by applying external voltages. However, these actuators require high actuation voltage input to change from one stable shape to another, especially when used in morphing applications. If the snap-through voltage is too high, morphing becomes infeasible or may require several actuators, which is contrary to the weight requirements. Variable Stiffness (VS) laminates provide the possibility for an enlarged design space with the possibility to tailor stiffness parameters, leading to lower snap-through loads and consequently reducing the size of the actuators. On the prediction of snap-through voltages, the existing semi-analytical models have shown reasonably high discrepancies between numerical and experimental results. An improved analytical model is proposed in this study to predict the snap-through of bistable VS laminates with MFC actuators. In the improved model, the equations resulting from the compatibility and the in-plane equilibrium are described equivalent to a standard plane elasticity problem which can be solved using a standard finite element (FE) approach. In addition, the total potential energy is written in terms of curvatures. The improved semi-analytical results are compared with a full geometrically nonlinear FE calculation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0263-8223
Date of Acceptance: 2 February 2021
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2022 02:40

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