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Title: Modelling and optimisation of bistable composite laminates
Author: Betts, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 1369
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2012
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Asymmetric composite laminates can have a bistable response to loading. The potentially large structural deformations which can be achieved during snap-through from one stable state to another with small and removable energy input make them of interest for a wide range of engineering applications. After 30 years of research effort the shapes and response to applied loads of laminates of general layup can be quantitatively predicted. With attention switching to the incorporation of bistable laminates for practical applications, tools for the design and optimisation of actuated bistable devices are desirable. This thesis describes the analytical and experimental studies undertaken to develop novel modelling and optimisation techniques for the design of actuated asymmetric bistable laminates. These structures are investigated for practical application to morphing structures and the developing technology of piezoelectric energy harvesting. Existing analytical models are limited by the need for a numerical solver to determine stable laminate shapes. As the problem has multiple equilibria, convergence to the desired solution cannot be guaranteed and multiple initial guesses are required to identify all possible solutions. The approach developed in this work allows the efficient and reliable prediction of the stable shapes of laminates with off-axis ply orient at ions in a closed form manner. This model is validated against experimental data and finite element predictions, with an extensive sensitivity study presented to demonstrate the effect of uncertainty and imperfections in the laminate composition. This closed-form solution enables detailed optimisation studies to tailor the design of bistable devices for a range of applications. The first study considers tailoring of the directional stiffness properties of bistable laminates to provide resistance to externally applied loads while allowing low energy actuation. The optimisation formulation is constrained to guarantee bistability and to ensure a useful level of deformation. It is demonstrated that 'cross-symmetric' layups can provide stiffness in an arbitrary loading direction which is five times greater than in a chosen actuation direction.
Supervisor: Kim, Hyunsun ; Hunt, Giles Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: composite laminates ; energy harvesting ; bistability ; optimisation