On Zero Stiffness

Mark Schenk, Simon D Guest

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

36 Citations (Scopus)


Zero-stiffness structures have the remarkable ability to undergo large elastic deformations without requiring external work. Several equivalent descriptions exist, such as (i) continuous equilibrium, (ii) constant potential energy, (iii) neutral stability and (iv) zero stiffness. Each perspective on zero stiffness provides different methods of analysis and design. This paper reviews the concept of zero stiffness and categorises examples from the literature by the interpretation that best describes their working principle. Lastly, a basic spring-to-spring balancer is analysed to demonstrate the equivalence of the four different interpretations, and illustrate the different insights that each approach brings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1701-1714
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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