Design of Compliant Mechanism Lattice Structures for Impact Energy Absorption

Joel Christian Najmon, Purdue University


Lattice structures have seen increasing use in several industries including automotive, aerospace, and construction. Lattice structures are lightweight and can achieve a wide range of mechanical behaviors through their inherent cellular design. Moreover, the unit cells of lattice structures can easily be meshed and conformed to a wide variety of volumes. Compliant mechanism make suitable micro-structures for units cells in lattice structures that are designed for impact energy absorption. The flexibility of compliant mechanisms allows for energy dissipation via straining of the members and also mitigates the effects of impact direction uncertainties. Density-based topology optimization methods can be used to synthesize compliant mechanisms. To aid with this task, a proposed optimization tool, coded in MATLAB, is created. The program is built on a modular structure and allows for the easy addition of new algorithms and objective functions beyond what is developed in this study. An adjacent investigation is also performed to determine the dependencies and trends of mechanical and geometric advantages of compliant mechanisms. The implications of such are discussed. The result of this study is a compliant mechanism lattice structure for impact energy absorption. The performance of this structure is analyzed through the application of it in a football helmet. Two types of unit cell compliant mechanisms are synthesized and assembled into three liner configurations. Helmet liners are further developed through a series of ballistic impact analysis simulations to determine the best lattice structure configuration and mechanism rubber hardness. The final liner is compared with a traditional expanded polypropylene foam liner to appraise the protection capabilities of the proposed lattice structure.




Tovar, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Design|Mechanical engineering|Energy

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