Design of a Compliant Mechanism to Generate an Arbitrary Nonlinear Force-Deflection Profile


This paper presents a compliant mechanism that can generate a wide range of force-deflection profiles. This partially compliant mechanism is comprised of a wedge cam with a compliant follower. The designer specifies the material and geometric properties of the compliant segment, as well as a desired force-deflection profile. A cam surface is then synthesized that helps generate this profile. The synthesis method is validated experimentally with the help of two case studies. Some possible areas of application include robotics, variable stiffness actuators, electrical connectors, design for automotive crashworthiness, and variable resistance exercise equipment.

Meeting Name

ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2018 (2018: Aug. 26-29, Quebec City, Canada)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Vamsi Lodagala and Pratheek B. Prasanna for their brainstorming, technical writing advice, prototyping advice, and contributions to the development of the synthesis method. The authors would also like to extend regards to Sreekar Karnati for his assistance with experimentation. The facilities in the Innovative Additive Manufacturing (IAM) Laboratory, as well as the support from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the Product Innovation and Creativity Center (PICC) at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO are gratefully acknowledged.

Keywords and Phrases

Cams; Crashworthiness; Design; Electric connectors; Mechanisms; Robotics; Case-studies; Electrical connectors; Force deflection; Material and geometric properties; Nonlinear force; Synthesis method; Variable resistance; Variable stiffness; Compliant mechanisms

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2018 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2018