Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Craig P. Lusk



This paper presents a concept for producing a Statically Balanced Shape-Shifting Surface (SB-SSS). In this context, an SB-SSS is a surface that can require near-zero magnitude force changes to accomplish a change in shape while retaining effectiveness as a physical barrier. This paper focuses on how to statically balance a specifically-designed compliant mechanism and how to incorporate this mechanism into a polygonal cell.

The mechanism consists of a compliant Peaucellier-Lipkin linkage layered with a pre-stressed link as the balancer. Previous work is presented that can show how a polygonal cell can be incorporated into a surface via a tiling array. Specifically shaped overlapping thin plates are used to retain the physical barrier requirement. The demonstration of a virtually zero-force Shape-Shifting Surface (SSS) suggests that SSS's can be designed with a wide range of force-displacement properties, i.e. ranging from that of a square of the parent material to the zero-force mechanism presented here. Applications for an SB-SSS may be macro-scale or micro-scale and may include sensors, biomedical applications, defense applications, and variable stiffness materials.