Shape Synthesis in Mechanical Design

C. P. Teng, S. Bai, J. Angeles


The shaping of structural elements in the area of mechanical design is a recurrent problem. The mechanical designer, as a rule, chooses what is believed to be the “simplest” shapes, such as the geometric primitives: lines, circles and, occasionally, conics. The use of higher-order curves is usually not even considered, not to speak of other curves than polynomials. However, the simplest geometric shapes are not necessarily the most suitable when the designed element must withstand loads that can lead to failure-prone stress concentrations. Indeed, as mechanical designers have known for a while, stress concentrations occur, first and foremost, by virtue of either dramatic changes in curvature or extremely high values thereof. As an alternative, we propose here the use of smooth curves that can be simply generated using standard concepts such as non-parametric cubic splines. These curves can be readily used to produce either extruded surfaces or surfaces of revolution. 


Curve synthesis; cubic splines; optimum design; G2-continuity

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague