SIM-AM 2023

Shape Shifting Inflatable Structures using Turing Pattern Designs and Gray-scale Digital Light Processing

  • Tanaka, Masato (Toyota Central R&D labs., Inc.)
  • Montgomery, Macrae (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Yue, Liang (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Wei, Yaochi (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Song, Yuyang (Toyota Motor North America)
  • Nomura, Tsuyoshi (Toyota Central R&D labs., Inc.)
  • Qi, Jerry (Georgia Institute of Technology)

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This study investigates computational design and experimental validation of the FEM models for shape shifting inflatable structures made from digital additive manufacturing. Inflatable structures can change their shape with the simple input of air pressure and have been applied in large varieties of industry such as automotive, aerospace, entertainment, etc. Traditional inflatable structures are designed and manufactured with isotropic materials such that the shape-morphing of a given structure is controlled by its initial shape and geometrical features, stitching or sealed curvilinear paths, and use of multiple materials through complicated fabrication. These approaches require either local geomeotrical features or active materials, limiting the design space for achievable shape morphing. In addition, the design of a inflatable shape-morphing structure relies on a designer’s experience and knowledge combined with trial and error manufacturing to arrive at a desired final shape when inflated. Thus, the innovative design is a limitation to develop advanced shape change inflatable structure. Here, an automated solution is investigated for this design and manufacturing issue for the shape-shifting inflatable structures. Tanaka et al. introduced Turing texture pattern designs combined with fabrication using grayscale digital light processing (g-DLP) 3D printing technology. This approach allows for the programming of local deformation and control of the overall shape. They employed gradient-based orientation optimization which integrated nonlinear MITC3 shell finite element analysis to determine the optimal distribution of material orientation on the surface membrane. The material orientation is then de-homogenized using reaction-diffusion equations into Turing texture pattern, inducing similar anisotropic deformation on the surface membrane. The present method directly produces fabrication instruction or CAD data of the anisotropic materials. In this contribution, several examples of the optimized shape-morphing inflatable structures are provided to illustrate the performance of the proposed design method.