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Creators/Authors contains: "Gu, Xianfeng David"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Abstract With specific fold patterns, a 2D flat origami can be converted into a complex 3D structure under an external driving force. Origami inspires the engineering design of many self-assembled and re-configurable devices. This work aims to apply the level set-based topology optimization to the generative design of origami structures. The origami mechanism is simulated using thin shell models where the deformation on the surface and the deformation in the normal direction can be simplified and well captured. Moreover, the fold pattern is implicitly represented by the boundaries of the level set function. The folding topology is optimized by minimizing a new multiobjective function that balances kinematic performance with structural stiffness and geometric requirements. Besides regular straight folds, our proposed model can mimic crease patterns with curved folds. With the folding curves implicitly represented, the curvature flow is utilized to control the complexity of the folds generated. The performance of the proposed method is demonstrated by the computer generation and physical validation of two thin shell origami designs.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Abstract

    Extracting quadrilateral layouts from surface triangulations is an important step in texture mapping, semi-structured quadrilateral meshing for traditional analysis and spline reconstruction for isogeometric analysis. Current methods struggle to yield high-quality layouts with appropriate connectivity between singular nodes (known as “extraordinary points” for spline representations) without resorting to either mixed-integer optimization or manual constraint prescription. The first of these is computationally expensive and comes with no guarantees, while the second is laborious and error-prone. In this work, we rigorously characterize curves in a quadrilateral layout up to homotopy type and use this information to quickly define high-quality connectivity constraints between singular nodes. The mathematical theory is accompanied by appropriate computational algorithms. The efficacy of the proposed method is demonstrated in generating quadrilateral layouts on the United States Army’s DEVCOM Generic Hull vehicle and parts of a bilinear quadrilateral finite element mesh (with some linear triangles) of a 1996 Dodge Neon.

  4. Ferromagnetic soft materials can generate flexible mobility and changeable configurations under an external magnetic field. They are used in a wide variety of applications, such as soft robots, compliant actuators, flexible electronics, and bionic medical devices. The magnetic field enables fast and biologically safe remote control of the ferromagnetic soft material. The shape changes of ferromagnetic soft elastomers are driven by the ferromagnetic particles embedded in the matrix of a soft elastomer. The external magnetic field induces a magnetic torque on the magnetized soft material, causing it to deform. To achieve the desired motion, the soft active structure can be designed by tailoring the layouts of the ferromagnetic soft elastomers. This paper aims to optimize multi-material ferromagnetic actuators. Multi-material ferromagnetic flexible actuators are optimized for the desired kinematic performance using the reconciled level set method. This type of magnetically driven actuator can carry out more complex shape transformations by introducing ferromagnetic soft materials with more than one magnetization direction. Whereas many soft active actuators exist in the form of thin shells, the newly proposed extended level set method (X-LSM) is employed to perform conformal topology optimization of ferromagnetic soft actuators on the manifolds. The objective function comprises two sub-objective functions,more »one for the kinematic requirement and the other for minimal compliance. Shape sensitivity analysis is derived using the material time derivative and the adjoint variable method. Three examples are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.« less
  5. This paper proposes a new way of designing and fabricating conformal flexible electronics on free-form surfaces, which can generate woven flexible electronics designs conforming to free-form 3D shapes with 2D printed electronic circuits. Utilizing our recently proposed foliation-based 3D weaving techniques, we can reap unprecedented advantages in conventional 2D electronic printing. The method is based on the foliation theory in differential geometry, which divides a surface into parallel leaves. Given a surface with circuit design, we first calculate a graph-value harmonic map and then create two sets of harmonic foliations perpendicular to each other. As the circuits are processed as the texture on the surface, they are separated and attached to each leaf. The warp and weft threads are then created and manually woven to reconstruct the surface and reconnect the circuits. Notably, The circuits are printed in 2D, which uniquely differentiates the proposed method from others. Compared with costly conformal 3D electronic printing methods requiring 5-axis CNC machines, our method is more reliable, more efficient, and economical. Moreover, the Harmonic foliation theory assures smoothness and orthogonality between every pair of woven yarns, which guarantees the precision of the flexible electronics woven on the surface. The proposed method provides anmore »alternative solution to the design and physical realization of surface electronic textiles for various applications, including wearable electronics, sheet metal craft, architectural designs, and smart woven-composite parts with conformal sensors in the automotive and aerospace industry. The performance of the proposed method is depicted using two examples.« less
  6. In this paper, the authors propose a new dimension reduction method for level-set-based topology optimization of conforming thermal structures on free-form surfaces. Both the Hamilton-Jacobi equation and the Laplace equation, which are the two governing PDEs for boundary evolution and thermal conduction, are transformed from the 3D manifold to the 2D rectangular domain using conformal parameterization. The new method can significantly simplify the computation of topology optimization on a manifold without loss of accuracy. This is achieved due to the fact that the covariant derivatives on the manifold can be represented by the Euclidean gradient operators multiplied by a scalar with the conformal mapping. The original governing equations defined on the 3D manifold can now be properly modified and solved on a 2D domain. The objective function, constraint, and velocity field are also equivalently computed with the FEA on the 2D parameter domain with the properly modified form. In this sense, we are solving a 3D topology optimization problem equivalently on the 2D parameter domain. This reduction in dimension can greatly reduce the computing cost and complexity of the algorithm. The proposed concept is proved through two examples of heat conduction on manifolds.
  7. Abstract Topology optimization has been proved to be an efficient tool for structural design. In recent years, the focus of structural topology optimization has been shifting from single material continuum structures to multimaterial and multiscale structures. This paper aims at devising a numerical scheme for designing bionic structures by combining a two-stage parametric level set topology optimization with the conformal mapping method. At the first stage, the macro-structural topology and the effective material properties are optimized simultaneously. At the second stage, another structural topology optimization is carried out to identify the exact layout of the metamaterial at the mesoscale. The achieved structure and metamaterial designs are further synthesized to form a multiscale structure using conformal mapping, which mimics the bionic structures with “orderly chaos” features. In this research, a multi-control-point conformal mapping (MCM) based on Ricci flow is proposed. Compared with conventional conformal mapping with only four control points, the proposed MCM scheme can provide more flexibility and adaptivity in handling complex geometries. To make the effective mechanical properties of the metamaterials invariant after conformal mapping, a variable-thickness structure method is proposed. Three 2D numerical examples using MCM schemes are presented, and their results and performances are compared. The achievedmore »multimaterial multiscale structure models are characterized by the “orderly chaos” features of bionic structures while possessing the desired performance.« less
  8. Soft active materials can generate flexible locomotion and change configurations through large deformations when subjected to an external environmental stimulus. They can be engineered to design 'soft machines' such as soft robots, compliant actuators, flexible electronics, or bionic medical devices. By embedding ferromagnetic particles into soft elastomer matrix, the ferromagnetic soft matter can generate flexible movement and shift morphology in response to the external magnetic field. By taking advantage of this physical property, soft active structures undergoing desired motions can be generated by tailoring the layouts of the ferromagnetic soft elastomers. Structural topology optimization has emerged as an attractive tool to achieve innovative structures by optimizing the material layout within a design domain, and it can be utilized to architect ferromagnetic soft active structures. In this paper, the level-set-based topology optimization method is employed to design ferromagnetic soft robots (FerroSoRo). The objective function comprises a sub-objective function for the kinematics requirement and a sub-objective function for minimum compliance. Shape sensitivity analysis is derived using the material time derivative and adjoint variable method. Three examples, including a gripper, an actuator, and a flytrap structure, are studied to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.