Shape-Changing Rigid-Body Mechanisms

Many design problems are defined by a curve that changes shape. Consider the profile of a wing during a flight where lift may be reduced as fuel burns off, or a spoiler where the downward force should be increased during cornering. As the spoiler and the wing should always have a shape that is spoiler-like or wing-like as it is changing, all of the interim shapes achievable by the mechanism should still define a usable spoiler or wing. The research on this project is identifying the underlying theory that allows these systems to be designed, and developing application specific technologies. Other applications include shape-changing parabolic light reflectors and extrusion dies. Early research in this area generated a Best Paper Award for Murray and Dr. Jim Schmiedeler, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.