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Challenges in Transforming Brittle to Flexible Structures

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.283.1 - 23.283.12

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Paper Authors


John M Mativo University of Georgia

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Assistant Professor UGA

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Siddharth Savadatti University of Georgia

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Challenges in Transforming Brittle to Flexible StructuresThermoelectric devices (TE) are typically rigid. The devices are made of several unit cells thatare made of two brittle elements each. Each of the elements is known as a leg and is eitherpositive or negative. The brittle nature of the elements make the unit cells inflexible. A needexists to make these TEs more flexible for use on waste heat emitting sources as most of thesesources are non-planar. One approach towards achieving TE flexibility is to manipulate the unitcell’s geometry that will allow deflection without collapsing.Two models were developed to study the extent of the unit cells’ flexibility. A successful modelwould allow deflection without fail when both compressive and shear loads were applied to theunit cell structure. Further, it would also maintain a parallel relationship between the top andbottom plates of the unit cell. Two modifications were made to the original unit cell structure byapplying conducting polymer at the plate/element interface; and introducing diagonal elements.The first model used a symmetrical diagonal truss design approach. The design took anindeterminate truss model which yielded minimal success. The model maintained parallelrelationship of the top and bottom plates of the unit cell and its diagonal absorbed loads andallowed minimal deflection of <0.01 of the diagonal member length. The second model used anasymmetric diagonal truss design approach. The design took a determinate truss model whichproduced better results than the indeterminate model. The top and bottom plate parallelrelationship was maintained, and the diagonal member absorbed both shear and compressiveloads providing slightly greater deflection. A further analysis recommended a mechanism designto achieve higher deflection. The paper will discuss the first two models.

Mativo, J. M., & Savadatti, S. (2013, June), Challenges in Transforming Brittle to Flexible Structures Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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