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Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering

, Volume 15 Issue 3

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A novel six-legged walking machine tool for in-situ operations
Jimu LIU, Yuan TIAN, Feng GAO
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 351-364.
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The manufacture and maintenance of large parts in ships, trains, aircrafts, and so on create an increasing demand for mobile machine tools to perform in-situ operations. However, few mobile robots can accommodate the complex environment of industrial plants while performing machining tasks. This study proposes a novel six-legged walking machine tool consisting of a legged mobile robot and a portable parallel kinematic machine tool. The kinematic model of the entire system is presented, and the workspace of different components, including a leg, the body, and the head, is analyzed. A hierarchical motion planning scheme is proposed to take advantage of the large workspace of the legged mobile platform and the high precision of the parallel machine tool. The repeatability of the head motion, body motion, and walking distance is evaluated through experiments, which is 0.11, 1.0, and 3.4 mm, respectively. Finally, an application scenario is shown in which the walking machine tool steps successfully over a 250 mm-high obstacle and drills a hole in an aluminum plate. The experiments prove the rationality of the hierarchical motion planning scheme and demonstrate the extensive potential of the walking machine tool for in-situ operations on large parts.

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Design and locomotion analysis of two kinds of rolling expandable mobile linkages with a single degree of freedom
Yanlin HAO, Yaobin TIAN, Jianxu WU, Yezhuo LI, Yan-An YAO
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 365-373.
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This study presents two kinds of rolling robots that are able to roll by deforming their outer shapes with a single degree of freedom. Each robot is an essential multi-loop planar expandable linkage constructed by a concave outer loop and several inner parallelogram loops. In this study, the mechanical design of the robots is introduced. Dynamic rolling process is further analyzed on the basis of zero moment point method, and a morphing strategy is proposed to guarantee a stable dynamic rolling process. A novel passive rolling locomotion is also developed, which enables the robots to roll and stand on a slope. To verify the design, two prototypes are manufactured, wherein the dynamic and passive rolling locomotion are carried out.

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Dynamic modeling and coupling characteristics of rotating inclined beams with twisted-shape sections
Jin ZENG, Chenguang ZHAO, Hui MA, Bangchun WEN
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 374-389.
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In the existing literature, most studies investigated the free vibrations of a rotating pre-twisted cantilever beam; however, few considered the effect of the elastic-support boundary and the quantification of modal coupling degree among different vibration directions. In addition, Coriolis, spin softening, and centrifugal stiffening effects are not fully included in the derived equations of motion of a rotating beam in most literature, especially the centrifugal stiffening effect in torsional direction. Considering these deficiencies, this study established a coupled flapwise–chordwise–axial–torsional dynamic model of a rotating double-tapered, pre-twisted, and inclined Timoshenko beam with elastic supports based on the semi-analytic method. Then, the proposed model was verified with experiments and ANSYS models using Beam188 and Shell181 elements. Finally, the effects of setting and pre-twisted angles on the degree of coupling among flapwise, chordwise, and torsional directions were quantified via modal strain energy ratios. Results showed that 1) the appearance of torsional vibration originates from the combined effect of flapwise–torsional and chordwise–torsional couplings dependent on the Coriolis effect, and that 2) the flapwise–chordwise coupling caused by the pure pre-twisted angle is stronger than that caused by the pure setting angle.

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Level set band method: A combination of density-based and level set methods for the topology optimization of continuums
Peng WEI, Wenwen WANG, Yang YANG, Michael Yu WANG
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 390-405.
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The level set method (LSM), which is transplanted from the computer graphics field, has been successfully introduced into the structural topology optimization field for about two decades, but it still has not been widely applied to practical engineering problems as density-based methods do. One of the reasons is that it acts as a boundary evolution algorithm, which is not as flexible as density-based methods at controlling topology changes. In this study, a level set band method is proposed to overcome this drawback in handling topology changes in the level set framework. This scheme is proposed to improve the continuity of objective and constraint functions by incorporating one parameter, namely, level set band, to seamlessly combine LSM and density-based method to utilize their advantages. The proposed method demonstrates a flexible topology change by applying a certain size of the level set band and can converge to a clear boundary representation methodology. The method is easy to implement for improving existing LSMs and does not require the introduction of penalization or filtering factors that are prone to numerical issues. Several 2D and 3D numerical examples of compliance minimization problems are studied to illustrate the effects of the proposed method.

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Multidisciplinary co-design optimization of structural and control parameters for bucket wheel reclaimer
Yongliang YUAN, Liye LV, Shuo WANG, Xueguan SONG
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 406-416.
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Bucket wheel reclaimer (BWR) is an extremely complex engineering machine that involves multiple disciplines, such as structure, dynamics, and electromechanics. The conventional design strategy, namely, sequential strategy, is structural design followed by control optimization. However, the global optimal solution is difficult to achieve because of the discoordination of structural and control parameters. The co-design strategy is explored to address the aforementioned problem by combining the structural and control system design based on simultaneous dynamic optimization approach. The radial basis function model is applied for the planning of the rotation speed considering the relationships of subsystems to minimize the energy consumption per volume. Co-design strategy is implemented to resolve the optimization problem, and numerical results are compared with those of sequential strategy. The dynamic response of the BWR is also analyzed with different optimization strategies to evaluate the advantages of the strategies. Results indicate that co-design strategy not only can reduce the energy consumption of the BWR but also can achieve a smaller vibration amplitude than the sequential strategy.

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Bending and vibration of a discontinuous beam with a curvic coupling under different axial forces
Heng LIU, Jie HONG, Dayi ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 417-429.
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The transverse stiffness and vibration characteristics of discontinuous beams can significantly differ from those of continuous beams given that an abrupt change in stiffness may occur at the interface of the former. In this study, the equations for the deflection curve and vibration frequencies of a simply supported discontinuous beam under axial loads are derived analytically on the basis of boundary, continuity, and deformation compatibility conditions by using equivalent spring models. The equation for the deflection curve is solved using undetermined coefficient methods. The normal function of the transverse vibration equation is obtained by separating variables. The differential equations for the beam that consider moments of inertia, shearing effects, and gyroscopic moments are investigated using the transfer matrix method. The deflection and vibration frequencies of the discontinuous beam are studied under different axial loads and connection spring stiffness. Results show that deflection decreases and vibration frequencies increase exponentially with increasing connection spring stiffness. Moreover, both variables remain steady when connection spring stiffness reaches a considerable value. Lastly, an experimental study is conducted to investigate the vibration characteristics of a discontinuous beam with a curvic coupling, and the results exhibit a good match with the proposed model.

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Establishing distinctive theories and methods of design science rooted in Chinese traditional culture
Huijun ZOU, Qinghua LIANG
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 430-437.
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The human social development saw the formation of five unique civilizations, with the latter forming their own distinctive cultures. China’s traditional culture is its most fundamental ideological weapon for solving problems. The Chinese are good at comprehensive thinking, dialectical thinking, and systematic analysis. These ideological weapons can solve the problems of formal science and technology and create scientific and technological achievements on par with global advanced scale. Ancient China is filled with original scientific and technological achievements, which strongly prove ancient China’s possession of its own science and technology different from that of Western Renaissance. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of science, technology, experience, and intuition is necessary. The long-held superstition regarding the West, the lack of confidence, self-denial, blind imitation of ideas, and shackles must be thrown away. Only then can we take the road toward an authentic Chinese creative design as we learn from others.

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Review of the crushing response of collapsible tubular structures
Vivek PATEL, Gaurav TIWARI, Ravikumar DUMPALA
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 438-474.
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Studies on determining and analyzing the crushing response of tubular structures are of significant interest, primarily due to their relation to safety. Several aspects of tubular structures, such as geometry, material, configuration, and hybrid structure, have been used as criteria for evaluation. In this review, a comprehensive analysis of the important findings of extensive research on understanding the crushing response of thin-walled tubular structures is presented. Advancements in thin-walled structures, including multi-cell tube, honeycomb and foam-filled, multi wall, and functionally graded thickness tubes, are also discussed, focusing on their energy absorption ability. An extensive review of experimentation and numerical analysis used to extract the deformation behavior of materials, such as aluminum and steel, against static and dynamic loadings are also provided. Several tube shapes, such as tubes of uniform and nonuniform (tapered) cross sections of circular, square, and rectangular shapes, have been used in different studies to identify their efficacy. Apart from geometric and loading parameters, the effects of fabrication process, heat treatment, and triggering mechanism on initiating plastic deformation, such as cutouts and grooves, on the surface of tubular structures are discussed.

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Multiscale model of micro curing residual stress evolution in carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset polymer composites
Xinyu HUI, Yingjie XU, Weihong ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 475-483.
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In this study, the micro curing residual stresses of carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset polymer (CFRP) composites are evaluated using a multiscale modeling method. A thermochemical coupling model is developed at the macroscale level to obtain the distributions of temperature and degree of cure. Meanwhile, a representative volume element model of the composites is established at the microscale level. By introducing the information from the macroscale perspective, the curing residual stresses are calculated using the microscale model. The evolution of curing residual stresses reveals the interaction mechanism of fiber, matrix, and interphase period during the curing process. Results show that the curing residual stresses mostly present a tensile state in the matrix and a compressive state in the fiber. Furthermore, the curing residual stresses at different locations in the composites are calculated and discussed. Simulation results provide an important guideline for the analysis and design of CFRP composite structures.

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Manufacturing and mechanical properties of composite orthotropic Kagome honeycomb using novel modular method
Bin NIU, Shijie LI, Rui YANG
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 484-495.
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This work deals with manufacturing and analysis of orthotropic composite Kagome honeycomb panels. A novel modular mold is proposed to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced composite Kagome honeycombs. The designed mold can be assembled freely to manufacture Kagome honeycombs with different configuration combinations and can realize easy demolding. Furthermore, two typical fiber placement methods are considered during the fabrication process, from which the more effective fiber placement method is determined. Finally, representative volume element method is used to perform homogenization analysis of the Kagome honeycomb panels and to obtain equivalent in-plane and bending stiffness. Finite element analysis using these equivalent properties is conducted and validated against the experimental results of the manufactured composite Kagome honeycomb panels under different loading cases.

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Influence of direct electric current on wetting behavior during brazing
Kirsten BOBZIN, Wolfgang WIETHEGER, Julian HEBING, Lidong ZHAO, Alexander SCHMIDT, Riza ISKANDAR, Joachim MAYER
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 496-503.
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The wetting behavior of liquid metals is of great importance for many processes. For brazing, however, a targeted modification beyond the adjustment of conventional process parameters or the actual set-up was not possible in the past. Therefore, the effect of direct electric current along the surface of a steel substrate on the wetting behavior and the formation of the spreading pattern of an industrial nickel-based filler metal was investigated at a temperature above T = 1000 °C in a vacuum brazing furnace. By applying direct current up to I = 60 A the wetted surface area could be increased and the spreading of the molten filler metal could be controlled in dependence of the polarity of the electric current. The electric component of the Lorentz force is supposed to be feasible reasons for the observed dependence of the electrical polarity on the filler metal spreading direction. To evaluate the influence of the electric current on the phase formation subsequent selective electron microscope analyses of the spreading pattern were carried out.

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Machinability of damage-tolerant titanium alloy in orthogonal turn-milling
Tao SUN, Lufang QIN, Junming HOU, Yucan FU
Front. Mech. Eng.. 2020, 15 (3): 504-515.
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The damage-tolerant titanium alloy TC21 is used extensively in important parts of advanced aircraft because of its high strength and durability. However, cutting TC21 entails problems, such as high cutting temperature, high tool tip stress, rapid tool wear, and difficulty guaranteeing processing quality. Orthogonal turn-milling can be used to solve these problems. In this study, the machinability of TC21 in orthogonal turn-milling is investigated experimentally to optimize the cutting parameters of orthogonal turn-milling and improve the machining efficiency, tool life, and machining quality of TC21. The mechanism of the effect of turn-milling parameters on tool life is discussed, the relationship between each parameter and tool life is analyzed, and the failure process of a TiAlN-coated tool in turn-milling is explored. Experiments are conducted on the integrity of the machined surface (surface roughness, metallographic structure, and work hardening) by turn-milling, and how the parameters influence such integrity is analyzed. Then, reasonable cutting parameters for TC21 in orthogonal turn-milling are recommended. This study provides strong guidance for exploring the machinability of difficult-to-cut-materials in orthogonal turn-milling and improves the applicability of orthogonal turn-milling for such materials.

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12 articles