A non-linear stiffness composite twisting I-beam

Xavier Lachenal, Stephen Daynes, Paul M Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A classic structural component of mechanical engineering, the I-beam, is redesigned by adding a morphing twist functionality to the high bending stiffness inherent to the geometry of the component. The beam, as with its conventional counterpart, is made of two flanges separated by a web. Here, bi-stability is introduced from a combination of flange pre-stress, web geometry and material properties; yielding a highly non-linear twist morphing structure while keeping the low weight and the high bending stiffness of the beam. The present case study offers two twisted stable shapes and can be morphed from one stable configuration to the other by applying a snap-through twist moment to the ends of the structure. Correlation is found between tests results, finite element model data and analytical predictions, validating the modelling assumptions. As a result, the three conflicting requirements of adaptive structures are met in a single structural entity: low mass, load carrying capability and compliance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-754
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number6
Early online date3 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


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