Reconfiguration of a smart surface using heteroclinic connections

Jiaying Zhang, Colin R McInnes, Ming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


A reconfigurable smart surface with multiple equilibria is presented, modelled using discrete point masses and linear springs with geometric nonlinearity. An energy-efficient reconfiguration scheme is then investigated to connect equal-energy unstable (but actively controlled) equilibria. In principle zero net energy input is required to transition the surface between these unstable states, compared to transitions between stable equilibria across a potential barrier. These transitions between equal-energy unstable states therefore form heteroclinic connections in the phase space of the problem. Moreover, the smart surface model developed can be considered as a unit module for a range of applications, including modules which can aggregate together to form larger distributed smart surface systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Early online date11 Jan 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2017


  • reconfigurable smart surface
  • heteroclinic connections
  • energy efficiency

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