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Title: Bistable and multi-stable thin-walled structures
Author: Zhang, Boshu
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 1311
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study aims to comprehend the bistable and multi-stable behaviour of flexible straws with the intention of utilising it for future engineering applications. This behaviour is achieved by the multiple inversions of conical frustum shells within the corrugation of a flexible straw. This study examined the effects of various material models, geometry variables and loading methods on the inversion of close-top and open-top conical frustum shells via experiments and FEM simulations. This thesis consists of three main parts, and the second and the third parts are complementary to each other: First, we investigated the effects of applying a uniform vertical load to the upper rim of open-top frustum shells via FEM simulations. A reference model was simulated based on the measurements of an ordinary polypropylene flexible straw specimen, using two material models - linear elastic and elastically perfectly plastic. The effects of the interactions between frusta of the corrugated segment of a flexible straw were also studied by evaluating the difference in responses between an individual frustum and conjugated models of two or three frusta. It was found that by constraining the rotation of its bottom rim, an individual frustum can fairly reproduce the complex bistable behaviour of the shorter frustum within the corrugated part of a flexible straw. Furthermore, detailed parametric studies that focused on the effects of various geometric parameters were conducted and generalised formulas that predicted the critical force were derived. A comparison between the simulated results and the analytical model in predicting progressive inversion was made to distinguish the geometric boundaries that separate the one-off snap-through to the progressive inversion of frustum shells. Next, the behaviour of close-top frustum shells in response to vertical point loading at various locations on the top surface was evaluated. A hyperelastic material was used to fabricate the physical specimens. During the experiments, the corresponding deformed shapes were recorded by 3D scanning in addition to measurements of the displacement and reaction force. We observed a close resemblance between the experimental and FEM simulated results, which validated the FEM models. Two local peaks were observed before the structure was fully inverted into its secondary stable state and the overall critical force of the structure was defined by the higher one of the two. The relationship between their magnitudes and the loading locations was analysed and an optimal loading location which gave the minimum critical force was proposed and verified by additional simulations. Furthermore, generalised formulas in predicting critical force were also acquired based on parametric studies. The optimal loading location was found to be constant in spite of variations in height and thickness. The third part of this thesis discussed the effects of lateral point loading on both close-top and open-top frustum shells at various locations on the side surface and supplemented the second part. It is found that the removal of the top surface could cause the critical force to decrease if a point load was applied laterally. Moreover, we were able to fully invert the structure with a lower critical force through lateral loading in comparison to vertical loading.
Supervisor: You, Zhong Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Engineering ; elastically perfectly plastic ; FEM ; 3D scanning ; bistable ; critical force ; linear elastic ; hyperelastic ; frustum shell