To improve the multi-functionality of a structure, a foldable or deployable structure with variable stiffness is needed. This article presents dual-stiffness structures with two stiffness states: a stiff state and a flexible state for a multi-mission capability. This dual-stiffness structure is based on a hybrid structure that combines rigid and flexible segments; when the
rigid segments are rearranged, the bending motion of the compliant material is constrained by the rigid segments, which varies the stiffness of the structure. Instead of continuously changing the stiffness, the dual-stiffness structure abruptly changes the stiffness state with a simple reconfiguring mechanism.We developed two reconfiguring mechanisms: a sliding
mechanism and a folding mechanism. Using a layering process, the dual-stiffness structure with a two-dimensional multilayer design was manufactured. To verify the behavior of the structure, a simplified structure with no sliding mechanism was designed and simulated using a finite element method. The ratio of the length of a rigid segment to the length of a
compliant segment determined the stiffness of the structure. This dual-stiffness structure with the reconfiguring mechanism can be effective for applications that require a big change in stiffness, such as for a deployable solar panel, or flexible display.
Related papers and patents
Yong-Jai Park, Jong-Gu Lee, Sangwon Jeon, Heejin Ahn, Jesung Koh, Junghyun Ryu, Maenghyo Cho, and Kyu-Jin Cho, “Dual-stiffness structure with reconfiguring mechanism: Design and investigation,” Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures (JIMSS), Vol 27, Issue 8, pp. 995-1010, May 2016. https://doi.org/10.1177/1045389X15577642