Exploiting the instability of smart structure for reconfiguration

Jiaying Zhang, Chen Zhang, Lin Hao, Rui Nie, Jinhao Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Aiming to verify the concept of using heteroclinic connections to reconfigure smart structures, a multistable buckled beam with integrated Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) wires is utilized as a high fidelity model. The Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) wires are resistively heated to provide the actuation force to stabilize the unstable configuration and the transition of the beam from one unstable equilibrium condition to the other. This concept provides a means of reducing the energy requirement for transitions between configurations of the structure, which is an energy-efficient reconfiguration scheme between equal-energy unstable (but actively controlled) equilibria. This letter presents a detailed design of the system, and how the active (heated) SMA wires control the structure stay in unstable configuration and drive the structure to achieve reconfiguration. Exploiting the instability of the smart structure has significant interests in many power reduction applications, including active flow control, reconfiguration of large deployable aerospace structures, and MEMS devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number064102
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2017


  • smart materials
  • flow control
  • microelectronics
  • failure analysis
  • unstable states


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