Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Andres F. Arrieta

Committee Member 1

James M. Gibert

Committee Member 2

Tyler N. Tallman


Actuators based on compliant multi-stable structures o˙er bene˝ts of low mass, large stroke, high blocking force, and fast actuation response. The compliant structure eliminates friction and failure points inherent to actuators featuring joints and moving parts. These characteristics o˙er a large potential for application in ˝elds such as aerospace or robotics where they can be scaled and modi˝ed to ˝t many design scenarios. A class of twisting bi-stable structures lends itself for use in linear actuation, as linear displacement is created upon twisting. These structures are also capable of fast actuation via snap-through between stable twisted states. This paper considers the application of a compliant bi-stable twisting structure as a linear actuator capable of bearing a load and producing a relatively large stroke length through actuation with smart material actuators. Finite element modeling is used for analysis, where a parameter study of the structure's geometry is used to tailor equilibrium behavior, thus resulting in a useful stroke length from twisting of the compliant structure. The design is adapted to function with a polymeric material and a physical 3D printed prototype is constructed to demonstrate the compliant bi-stable linear actuator concept. Finally, two means of actuation are proposed to trigger snap-through of the compliant structure with smart material actuators. This unconventional design serves as a useful linear actuator that is relevant to aerospace applications as well as other applications where low complexity and versatile engineering structures are required.