Reconfiguring smart structures using phase space connections

C.R. McInnes, T.J. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Structures are traditionally designed to be stable. However, unstable configurations (such as buckling) can in principle be controlled in smart structures using embedded sensors and actuators. In this paper we explore a new means of reconfiguring smart structures by connecting multiple unstable configurations. Methods from dynamical systems theory are used firstly to identify sets of unstable configurations in a simple smart structure model, and then to connect them through so-called heteroclinic connections in the phase space of the problem. The instability inherent in the structure is then actively utilized to provide an effective new way of transitioning between configurations of the structure in a controlled manner.
Original languageEnglish
Article number025030
Number of pages23
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • smart structures
  • space
  • stability
  • dynamical systems theory

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