Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
Research article
12 Apr 2012
Research article |  | 12 Apr 2012

Understanding the drivers for the development of design rules for the synthesis of cylindrical flexures

M. J. Telleria and M. L. Culpepper

Abstract. Cylindrical flexures (CFs), defined as flexures with only one finite radius of curvature loaded normal to the plane of curvature, present an interesting research direction in compliant mechanisms. CFs are constructed out of a cylindrical stock which leads to geometry, manufacturability, and compatibility advantages. Synthesis rules must be developed to design these new systems effectively. Current knowledge in flexure design pertains to straight-beam flexures or curved flexures loaded along the plane of curvature. CFs present a challenge because their mechanics differ from those of straight beams, and although their modelling has been researched thoroughly it has yet to be distilled into element and system creation rules. This paper uses models and finite element analysis to demonstrate that current design rules for straight-beam flexures are insufficient and inadequate for the design of CF systems. The presented discussion will show that CFs differ both at the element and systems levels, and therefore future research will focus on developing the three components of the building block approach: (i) reworking of element mechanics models to reveal the parameters which cause the kinematics of the curved beam to differ from those of the straight beam, (ii) development of a visual stiffness representation, and (iii) formation of system creation rules.