Hinged beam elements for the topology design of compliant mechanisms using the ground structure approach

Deepak S. Ramrakhyani, Mary I. Frecker, George A. Lesieutre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The design obtained from a topology optimization problem can be sensitive to the type and details of the ground structure used. A new type of ground structure containing hinged beam elements is described that increases the types of elements in the ground structure available to the optimizer. In addition to the pin-ended truss and rigidly-connected beam elements that have traditionally been used, two new types of elements are introduced: (1) a beam with a hinge on one end and a solid connection on the other end, (2) a beam with hinges on both ends. These elements have different deflection characteristics than those of the typical truss or beam elements, and can be used in ground structure-based compliant mechanism design. Given a reduced ground structure, these new elements effectively increase the design space. Pin-ended members with lengths larger than those of the ground structure cell size are permitted to develop, reducing the sensitivity of solutions to the cell density of the reduced ground structure. Furthermore, because these longer members do not require intermediate lateral support to provide stability, as series connections of shorter pin-ended members do, fewer ancillary members are required. Two compliant mechanism problems are solved to demonstrate the effectiveness of these new elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-567
Number of pages11
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Control and Optimization


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