Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
Research article
06 Jun 2011
Research article |  | 06 Jun 2011

On mechanical properties of planar flexure hinges of compliant mechanisms

F. Dirksen and R. Lammering

Abstract. The synthesis of compliant mechanisms yield optimized topologies that combine several stiff parts with highly elastic flexure hinges. The hinges are often represented in finite element analysis by a single node (one-node hinge) leaving doubts on the physical meaning as well as an uncertainty in the manufacturing process.

To overcome this one-node hinge problem of optimized compliant mechanisms' topologies, one-node hinges need to be replaced by real flexure hinges providing desired deflection range and the ability to bear internal loads without failure. Therefore, several common types of planar flexure hinges with different geometries are characterized and categorized in this work providing a comprehensive guide with explicit analytical expressions to replace one-node hinges effectively.

Analytical expressions on displacements, stresses, maximum elastic deformations, bending stiffness, center of rotation and first natural frequencies are derived in this work. Numerical simulations and experimental studies are performed validating the analytical results. More importance is given to practice-oriented flexure hinge types in terms of cost-saving manufacturability, i.e. circular notch type hinges and rectangular leaf type hinges.