Multistable composite twisting structure for morphing applications

Xavier Lachenal*, PM Weaver, S Daynes

*Corresponding author for this work

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

101 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional shape-changing engineering structures use discrete parts articulated around a number of linkages. Each part carries the loads, and the articulations provide the degrees of freedom of the system, leading to heavy and complex mechanisms. Consequently, there has been increased interest in morphing structures over the past decade owing to their potential to combine the conflicting requirements of strength, flexibility and low mass. This article presents a novel type of morphing structure capable of large deformations, simply consisting of two pre-stressed flanges joined to introduce two stable configurations. The bistability is analysed through a simple analytical model, predicting the positions of the stable and unstable states for different design parameters and material properties. Good correlation is found between experimental results, finite-element modelling and predictions from the analytical model for one particular example. A wide range of design parameters and material properties is also analytically investigated, yielding a remarkable structure with zero stiffness along the twisting axis. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Translated title of the contributionMultistable composite twisting structure for morphing applications
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1230-1251
Number of pages22
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2141
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2012


  • Bistability
  • Compliant structures
  • Composite materials
  • Deployable structures
  • Twist morphing


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