Metamorphs: Bistable Planar Structures

Metamorphs: Bistable Planar Structures

Bharaj G, Kaufman D, Vouga E, and Pfister H.

(arXiv preprint, 2018.)

Extreme deformation can drastically morph a structure from one structural form into another. Programming such deformation properties into the structure is often challenging and in many cases an impossible task. The morphed forms do not hold and usually relapse to the original form, where the structure is in its lowest energy state. For example, a stick, when bent, resists its bent form and tends to go back to its initial straight form, where it holds the least amount of potential energy. In this project, we present a computational design method which can create fabricable planar structure that can morph into two different bistable forms. Once the user provides the initial desired forms, the method automatically creates support structures (internal springs), such that, the structure can not only morph, but also hold the respective forms under external force application. We achieve this through an iterative nonlinear optimization strategy for shaping the potential energy of the structure in the two forms simultaneously. Our approach guarantees first and second-order stability with respect to the potential energy of the bistable structure.