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Modeling 3D-Printed Composite Honeycomb Structures with the Representative Lattice Element Method

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The goal of our research was to develop and validate a method for predicting the mechanical behavior of Additively Manufactured multi-material honeycomb structures. Multiple approaches already exist in the field for modeling the behavior of cellular materials, including the bulk

The goal of our research was to develop and validate a method for predicting the mechanical behavior of Additively Manufactured multi-material honeycomb structures. Multiple approaches already exist in the field for modeling the behavior of cellular materials, including the bulk property assumption, homogenization and strut level characterization [1]. With the bulk property approach, the structure is assumed to behave according to what is known about the material in its bulk formulation, without regard to its geometry or scale. With the homogenization technique, the specimen that is being tested is treated as a solid material within the simulation environment even if the physical specimen is not. Then, reduced mechanical properties are assigned to the specimen to account for any voids that exist within the physical specimen. This approach to mechanical behavior prediction in cellular materials is shape dependent. In other words, the same model cannot be used from one specimen to the next if the cell shapes of those lattices differ in any way. When using the strut level characterization approach, a single strut (the connecting member between nodes constituting a cellular material) is isolated and tested. With this approach, there tends to be a significant deviation in the experimental data due to the small size of the isolated struts. Yet it has the advantage of not being shape sensitive, at least in principle. The method that we developed, and chose to test lies within the latter category, and is what we have coined as the Representative Lattice Element (RLE) Method. This method is modeled after the well-established Representative Volume Element (RVE) method [2]. We define the RLE as the smallest unit over which mechanical tests can be conducted that will provide results which are representative of the larger lattice structure. In other words, the theory is that a single member (or beam in this case) of a honeycomb structure can be taken, tests can be conducted on this member to determine the mechanical properties of the representative lattice element and the results will be representative of the mechanical behavior whole structure. To investigate this theory, we designed specimens, conducted various tensile and compression tests, analyzed the recorded data, conducted a micromechanics study, and performed structural simulation work using commercial Finite Element Analysis software.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Print, Lock, and Roll: Design of a Parametric, Print-in-Place, Self-Locking Hinge

Description

While many 3D printed structures are rigid and stationary, the potential for complex geometries offers a chance for creative and useful motion. Printing structures larger than the print bed, reducing the need for support materials, maintaining multiple states without actuation,

While many 3D printed structures are rigid and stationary, the potential for complex geometries offers a chance for creative and useful motion. Printing structures larger than the print bed, reducing the need for support materials, maintaining multiple states without actuation, and mimicking origami folding are some of the opportunities offered by 3D printed hinges. Current efforts frequently employ advanced materials and equipment that are not available to all users. The purpose of this project was to develop a parametric, print-in-place, self-locking hinge that could be printed using very basic materials and equipment. Six main designs were developed, printed, and tested for their strength in maintaining a locked position. Two general design types were used: 1) sliding hinges and 2) removable pin hinges. The test results were analyzed to identify and explain the causes of observed trends. The amount of interference between the pin vertex and knuckle hole edge was identified as the main factor in hinge strength. After initial testing, the designs were modified and applied to several structures, with successful results for a collapsible hexagon and a folding table. While the initial goal was to have one CAD model as a final product, the need to evaluate tradeoffs depending on the exact application made this impossible. Instead, a set of design guidelines was created to help users make strategic decisions and create their own design. Future work could explore additional scaling effects, printing factors, or other design types.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Exoskeletal Hand Fixture for use with Tool Balancing arm for Packing/Warehouse Applications

Description

Many industries require workers in warehouse and stockroom environments to perform frequent lifting tasks. Over time these repeated tasks can lead to excess strain on the worker's body and reduced productivity. This project seeks to develop an exoskeletal wrist fixture

Many industries require workers in warehouse and stockroom environments to perform frequent lifting tasks. Over time these repeated tasks can lead to excess strain on the worker's body and reduced productivity. This project seeks to develop an exoskeletal wrist fixture to be used in conjunction with a powered exoskeleton arm to aid workers performing box lifting types of tasks. Existing products aimed at improving worker comfort and productivity typically employ either fully powered exoskeleton suits or utilize minimally powered spring arms and/or fixtures. These designs either reduce stress to the user's body through powered arms and grippers operated via handheld controls which have limited functionality, or they use a more minimal setup that reduces some load, but exposes the user's hands and wrists to injury by directing support to the forearm. The design proposed here seeks to strike a balance between size, weight, and power requirements and also proposes a novel wrist exoskeleton design which minimizes stress on the user's wrists by directly interfacing with the object to be picked up. The design of the wrist exoskeleton was approached through initially selecting degrees of freedom and a ROM (range of motion) to accommodate. Feel and functionality were improved through an iterative prototyping process which yielded two primary designs. A novel "clip-in" method was proposed to allow the user to easily attach and detach from the exoskeleton. Designs utilized a contact surface intended to be used with dry fibrillary adhesives to maximize exoskeleton grip. Two final designs, which used two pivots in opposite kinematic order, were constructed and tested to determine the best kinematic layout. The best design had two prototypes created to be worn with passive test arms that attached to the user though a specially designed belt.

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Date Created
2016-12