A methodology for design of lightweight robotic arm links in harsh environments

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A methodology for the creation of functionally graded material (FGM) parts in harsh environments has been developed. It uses a two-stage optimisation approach that focusses first on the task-dependent material choice and then on the topological optimisation (TO) of the part. Constraints are in place to ensure the part can be manufactured, including the extent/smoothness of material blending and the minimum feature size and layer thickness. Thought is also put into space-specific concerns, such as radiation and cyclic thermal heating. The methodology assumes an initial design solution has already been generated, and covers from the beginning of the CAD phase to the end of the computational testing phase. Design constraints are created with additive manufacture (AM) in mind, and suggestions are made for material mixing processes for FGM, material layout strategies and manufacturability, including scanning strategies and surface finish.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2017
Event68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 25 Sep 201729 Sep 2017
Conference number: 68th


Conference68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC)
Abbreviated titleIAC-17


  • lightweight
  • additive manufacture
  • topology optimisation
  • functionally graded material (FGM)
  • robotic arm
  • manufacturing


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