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Optimisation of mechanisms taking manufacturing tolerance into account


Research objectives and content
This project is concerned with the dimensional synthesis of mechanisms, and in particular with the link between optimal configurations and their sensitivity to manufacturing tolerances. Standard mechanism optimisation strategies aim to find the "best" configuration that satisfies a set of given constraints, but neglect the possible effects of manufacturing tolerances on the actual behaviour of the mechanism. In complex, three-dimensional mechanisms for deployable or adaptive structures these effects can be significant and totally unexpected. For example, a rigid-panel antenna design recently developed at Cambridge University has shown unexpected asymmetries during deployment although it was intended to deploy in a regular, symmetric way.
This project aims to develop new optimisation strategies for the "robust" design of mechanisms. In the case of mechanisms where the global optimal design is potentially sensitive to manufacturing tolerances, the new approach will aim for good, relatively insensitive, sub-optimal designs. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The project will give the opportunity to investigate theoretically an important aspect of design optimisation not thoroughly examined in the literature until now and to appiv the results to an industrially relevant example.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The project will be an important contribution to the realization of new deployable and adaptive structures. The new concept of rigid-panel deployable antenna that will be investigated has a number of advantages over previous concepts: it is mechanically less complex and has a better packaging ratio

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
CB2 1PZ Cambridge
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Not available