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  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Majun SONG, Sheng GUO, Anderson S. OLIVEIRA, Xiangyang WANG, Haibo QU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0644-4

    Transfemoral amputees (TAs) have difficulty in mobility during walking, such as restricted movement of lower extremity and body instability, yet few transfemoral prostheses have explored human-like multiple motion characteristics by simple structures to fit the kinesiology, biomechanics, and stability of human lower extremity. In this work, the configurations of transfemoral prosthetic mechanism are synthesized in terms of human lower-extremity kinesiology. A hybrid transfemoral prosthetic (HTP) mechanism with multigait functions is proposed to recover the gait functions of TAs. The kinematic and mechanical performances of the designed parallel mechanism are analyzed to verify their feasibility in transfemoral prosthetic mechanism. Inspired by motion–energy coupling relationship of the knee, a wearable energy-damper clutched device that can provide energy in knee stance flexion to facilitate the leg off from the ground and can impede the leg’s swing velocity for the next stance phase is proposed. Its co-operation with the springs in the prismatic pairs enables the prosthetic mechanism to have the energy recycling ability under the gait rhythm of the knee joint. Results demonstrate that the designed HTP mechanism can replace the motion functions of the knee and ankle to realize its multimode gait and effectively decrease the peak power of actuators from 94.74 to 137.05 W while maintaining a good mechanical adaptive stability.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yingjun WANG, Liang GAO, Jinping QU, Zhaohui XIA, Xiaowei DENG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0648-0

    In isogeometric analysis (IGA), the boundary representation of computer-aided design (CAD) and the tensor-product non-uniform rational B-spline structure make the analysis of three-dimensional (3D) problems with irregular geometries difficult. In this paper, an IGA method for complex models is presented by reconstructing analysis-suitable models. The CAD model is represented by boundary polygons or point cloud and is embedded into a regular background grid, and a model reconstruction method is proposed to obtain the level set function of the approximate model, which can be directly used in IGA. Three 3D examples are used to test the proposed method, and the results demonstrate that the proposed method can deal with complex engineering parts reconstructed by boundary polygons or point clouds.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Zequan YAO, Chang FAN, Zhao ZHANG, Dinghua ZHANG, Ming LUO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0649-z

    Machined surface roughness will affect parts’ service performance. Thus, predicting it in the machining is important to avoid rejects. Surface roughness will be affected by system position dependent vibration even under constant parameter with certain toolpath processing in the finishing. Aiming at surface roughness prediction in the machining process, this paper proposes a position-varying surface roughness prediction method based on compensated acceleration by using regression analysis. To reduce the stochastic error of measuring the machined surface profile height, the surface area is repeatedly measured three times, and Pauta criterion is adopted to eliminate abnormal points. The actual vibration state at any processing position is obtained through the single-point monitoring acceleration compensation model. Seven acceleration features are extracted, and valley, which has the highest R-square proving the effectiveness of the filtering features, is selected as the input of the prediction model by mutual information coefficients. Finally, by comparing the measured and predicted surface roughness curves, they have the same trends, with the average error of 16.28% and the minimum error of 0.16%. Moreover, the prediction curve matches and agrees well with the actual surface state, which verifies the accuracy and reliability of the model.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Min CHENG, Zenan HAN, Ruqi DING, Junhui ZHANG, Bing XU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0646-2

    The demand for redundant hydraulic manipulators that can implement complex heavy-duty tasks in unstructured areas is increasing; however, current manipulator layouts that remarkably differ from human arms make intuitive kinematic operation challenging to achieve. This study proposes a seven-degree-of-freedom (7-DOF) redundant anthropomorphic hydraulically actuated manipulator with a novel roll–pitch–yaw spherical wrist. A hybrid series–parallel mechanism is presented to achieve the spherical wrist design, which consists of two parallel linear hydraulic cylinders to drive the yaw/pitch 2-DOF wrist plate connected serially to the roll structure. Designed as a 1R PRRR-1S PU mechanism (“R”, “P”, “S”, and “U” denote revolute, prismatic, spherical, and universal joints, respectively; the underlined letter indicates the active joint), the 2-DOF parallel structure is partially decoupled to obtain simple forward/inverse kinematic solutions in which a closed-loop subchain “R PRR” is included. The 7-DOF manipulator is then designed, and its third joint axis goes through the spherical center to obtain closed-form inverse kinematic computation. The analytical inverse kinematic solution is drawn by constructing self-motion manifolds. Finally, a physical prototype is developed, and the kinematic analysis is validated via numerical simulation and test results.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Hexiang YUAN, Jiapeng YU, Duo JIA, Qiang LIU, Hui MA
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0645-3

    External pipe routing for aero-engine in limited three-dimensional space is a typical nondeterministic polynomial hard problem, where the parallel layout of pipes plays an important role in improving the utilization of layout space, facilitating pipe assembly, and maintenance. This paper presents an automatic multiple pipe routing method for aero-engine that focuses on parallel layout. The compressed visibility graph construction algorithm is proposed first to determine rapidly the rough path and interference relationship of the pipes to be routed. Based on these rough paths, the information of pipe grouping and sequencing are obtained according to the difference degree and interference degree, respectively. Subsequently, a coevolutionary improved differential evolution algorithm, which adopts the coevolutionary strategy, is used to solve multiple pipe layout optimization problem. By using this algorithm, pipes in the same group share the layout space information with one another, and the optimal layout solution of pipes in this group can be obtained in the same evolutionary progress. Furthermore, to eliminate the minor angle deviation of parallel pipes that would cause assembly stress in actual assembly, an accurate parallelization processing method based on the simulated annealing algorithm is proposed. Finally, the simulation results on an aero-engine demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed method.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jie LIU, Kaibo ZHOU, Chaoying YANG, Guoliang LU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0652-4

    Existing fault diagnosis methods usually assume that there are balanced training data for every machine health state. However, the collection of fault signals is very difficult and expensive, resulting in the problem of imbalanced training dataset. It will degrade the performance of fault diagnosis methods significantly. To address this problem, an imbalanced fault diagnosis of rotating machinery using autoencoder-based SuperGraph feature learning is proposed in this paper. Unsupervised autoencoder is firstly used to compress every monitoring signal into a low-dimensional vector as the node attribute in the SuperGraph. And the edge connections in the graph depend on the relationship between signals. On the basis, graph convolution is performed on the constructed SuperGraph to achieve imbalanced training dataset fault diagnosis for rotating machinery. Comprehensive experiments are conducted on a benchmarking publicized dataset and a practical experimental platform, and the results show that the proposed method can effectively achieve rotating machinery fault diagnosis towards imbalanced training dataset through graph feature learning.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yiwei LIU, Shipeng CUI, Yongjun SUN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0647-1

    The safety of human–robot interaction is an essential requirement for designing collaborative robotics. Thus, this paper aims to design a novel variable stiffness actuator (VSA) that can provide safer physical human–robot interaction for collaborative robotics. VSA follows the idea of modular design, mainly including a variable stiffness module and a drive module. The variable stiffness module transmits the motion from the drive module in a roundabout manner, making the modularization of VSA possible. As the key component of the variable stiffness module, a stiffness adjustment mechanism with a symmetrical structure is applied to change the positions of a pair of pivots in two levers linearly and simultaneously, which can eliminate the additional bending moment caused by the asymmetric structure. The design of the double-deck grooves in the lever allows the pivot to move freely in the groove, avoiding the geometric constraint between the parts. Consequently, the VSA stiffness can change from zero to infinity as the pivot moves from one end of the groove to the other. To facilitate building a manipulator in the future, an expandable electrical system with a distributed structure is also proposed. Stiffness calibration and control experiments are performed to evaluate the physical performance of the designed VSA. Experiment results show that the VSA stiffness is close to the theoretical design stiffness. Furthermore, the VSA with a proportional–derivative feedback plus feedforward controller exhibits a fast response for stiffness regulation and a good performance for position tracking.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yu YANG, Hui CHENG, Biao LIANG, Guoyi HOU, Di ZHAO, Chun LIU, Kaifu ZHANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-021-0643-5

    In this paper, an improved fractal interpolation model is proposed to reconstruct the surface topography of composite hole wall. This model adopts the maximum positive deviations and maximum negative deviations between the measured values and trend values to determine the contraction factors. Hole profiles in 24 directions are measured. Fractal parameters are calculated to evaluate the measured surface profiles. The maximum and minimum fractal dimension of the hole wall are 1.36 and 1.07, whereas the maximum and minimum fractal roughness are 4.05 × 10 −5 and 4.36 × 10 −10 m, respectively. Based on the two-dimensional evaluation results, three-dimensional surface topographies in five typical angles (0°, 45°, 90°, 135°, and 165°) are reconstructed using the improved model. Fractal parameter D s and statistical parameters Sa, Sq, and Sz are used to evaluate the reconstructed surfaces. Average error of D s, Sa, Sq, and Sz between the measured surfaces and the reconstructed surfaces are 1.53%, 3.60%, 5.60%, and 9.47%, respectively. Compared with the model in published literature, the proposed model has equal reconstruction effect in relatively smooth surface and is more advanced in relatively rough surface. Comparative results prove that the proposed model for calculating contraction factors is more reasonable.