A strain based topology optimization method for compliant mechanism design

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22 Scopus citations


The Energy based topology optimization method has been used in the design of compliant mechanisms for many years. Although many successful examples from the energy based topology optimization method have been presented, optimized configurations of these designs are often very similar to their rigid linkage counterparts; except using compliant joints in place of rigid links. These complaint joints will endure large strain under the applied forces in order to perform the specified motions which are very undesirable in a compliant mechanism design. In this paper, a strain based topology optimization method is proposed to avoid a localized high strain of the compliant mechanism design, which is one of the drawbacks using strain energy formulation. Therefore, instead of minimizing the strain energy for structural rigidity, a global effective strain function is minimized. This is done in order to distribute the strain within the entire mechanism while maximizing the structural rigidity. Furthermore, the physical programming method is adopted to accommodate both flexibility and rigidity design objectives. Design examples from both the strain energy based topology optimization and the strain based method are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-207
Number of pages9
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Compliant mechanism
  • Effective strain
  • Physical programming
  • Topology optimization

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