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    Xiwang HE, Xiaonan LAI, Liangliang YANG, Fan ZHANG, Dongcai ZHOU, Xueguan SONG, Wei SUN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 52.

    As a virtual representation of a specific physical asset, the digital twin has great potential for realizing the life cycle maintenance management of a dynamic system. Nevertheless, the dynamic stress concentration is generated since the state of the dynamic system changes over time. This generation of dynamic stress concentration has hindered the exploitation of the digital twin to reflect the dynamic behaviors of systems in practical engineering applications. In this context, this paper is interested in achieving real-time performance prediction of dynamic systems by developing a new digital twin framework that includes simulation data, measuring data, multi-level fusion modeling (M-LFM), visualization techniques, and fatigue analysis. To leverage its capacity, the M-LFM method combines the advantages of different surrogate models and integrates simulation and measured data, which can improve the prediction accuracy of dynamic stress concentration. A telescopic boom crane is used as an example to verify the proposed framework for stress prediction and fatigue analysis of the complex dynamic system. The results show that the M-LFM method has better performance in the computational efficiency and calculation accuracy of the stress prediction compared with the polynomial response surface method and the kriging method. In other words, the proposed framework can leverage the advantages of digital twins in a dynamic system: damage monitoring, safety assessment, and other aspects and then promote the development of digital twins in industrial fields.

    Bin WANG, Tao ZHANG, Jiazhen CHEN, Wang XU, Hongyu WEI, Yaowei SONG, Yisheng GUAN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 6.

    This paper proposes a novel modular cable-driven humanoid arm with anti-parallelogram mechanisms (APMs) and Bowden cables. The lightweight arm realizes the advantage of joint independence and the rational layout of the driving units on the base. First, this paper analyzes the kinematic performance of the APM and uses the rolling motion between two ellipses to approximate a pure-circular-rolling motion. Then, a novel type of one-degree-of-freedom (1-DOF) elbow joint is proposed based on this principle, which is also applied to design the 3-DOF wrist and shoulder joints. Next, Bowden cables are used to connect the joints and their driving units to obtain a modular cable-driven arm with excellent joint independence. After that, both the forward and inverse kinematics of the entire arm are analyzed. Last, a humanoid arm prototype was developed, and the assembly velocity, joint motion performance, joint stiffness, load carrying, typical humanoid arm movements, and repeatability were tested to verify the arm performance.

    Xin CUI, Changhe LI, Yanbin ZHANG, Wenfeng DING, Qinglong AN, Bo LIU, Hao Nan LI, Zafar SAID, Shubham SHARMA, Runze LI, Sujan DEBNATH
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 3.

    The substitution of biolubricant for mineral cutting fluids in aerospace material grinding is an inevitable development direction, under the requirements of the worldwide carbon emission strategy. However, serious tool wear and workpiece damage in difficult-to-machine material grinding challenges the availability of using biolubricants via minimum quantity lubrication. The primary cause for this condition is the unknown and complex influencing mechanisms of the biolubricant physicochemical properties on grindability. In this review, a comparative assessment of grindability is performed using titanium alloy, nickel-based alloy, and high-strength steel. Firstly, this work considers the physicochemical properties as the main factors, and the antifriction and heat dissipation behaviours of biolubricant in a high temperature and pressure interface are comprehensively analysed. Secondly, the comparative assessment of force, temperature, wheel wear and workpiece surface for titanium alloy, nickel-based alloy, and high-strength steel confirms that biolubricant is a potential replacement of traditional cutting fluids because of its improved lubrication and cooling performance. High-viscosity biolubricant and nano-enhancers with high thermal conductivity are recommended for titanium alloy to solve the burn puzzle of the workpiece. Biolubricant with high viscosity and high fatty acid saturation characteristics should be used to overcome the bottleneck of wheel wear and nickel-based alloy surface burn. The nano-enhancers with high hardness and spherical characteristics are better choices. Furthermore, a different option is available for high-strength steel grinding, which needs low-viscosity biolubricant to address the debris breaking difficulty and wheel clogging. Finally, the current challenges and potential methods are proposed to promote the application of biolubricant.

    Xiaoluo YU, Yifan HUANGFU, Yang YANG, Minggang DU, Qingbo HE, Zhike PENG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 57.

    Gearbox fault diagnosis based on vibration sensing has drawn much attention for a long time. For highly integrated complicated mechanical systems, the intercoupling of structure transfer paths results in a great reduction or even change of signal characteristics during the process of original vibration transmission. Therefore, using gearbox housing vibration signal to identify gear meshing excitation signal is of great significance to eliminate the influence of structure transfer paths, but accompanied by huge scientific challenges. This paper establishes an analytical mathematical description of the whole transfer process from gear meshing excitation to housing vibration. The gear meshing stiffness (GMS) identification approach is proposed by using housing vibration signals for two stages of inversion based on the mathematical description. Specifically, the linear system equations of transfer path analysis are first inverted to identify the bearing dynamic forces. Then the dynamic differential equations are inverted to identify the GMS. Numerical simulation and experimental results demonstrate the proposed method can realize gear fault diagnosis better than the original housing vibration signal and has the potential to be generalized to other speeds and loads. Some interesting properties are discovered in the identified GMS spectra, and the results also validate the rationality of using meshing stiffness to describe the actual gear meshing process. The identified GMS has a clear physical meaning and is thus very useful for fault diagnosis of the complicated equipment.

    Jie PAN, Jingjun YU, Xu PEI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 44.

    The limited length shrinkage of shape memory alloy (SMA) wire seriously limits the motion range of SMA-based gripper. In this paper, a new soft finger without silicone gel was designed based on pre bent SMA wire, and the finger was back to its original shape by heating SMA wire, rather than relying only on heat exchange with the environment. Through imitating palm movement, a structure with adjustable spacing between fingers was made using SMA spring and rigid spring. The hook structure design at the fingertip can form self-locking to further improve the load capacity of gripper. Through the long thin rod model, the relationship of the initial pre bent angle on the bending angle and output force of the finger was analyzed. The stress-strain model of SMA spring was established for the selection of rigid spring. Three grasping modes were proposed to adapt to the weight of the objects. Through the test of the gripper, it was proved that the gripper had large bending amplitude, bending force, and response rate. The design provides a new idea for the lightweight design and convenient design of soft gripper based on SMA.

    Haibo LIU, Chengxin WANG, Te LI, Qile BO, Kuo LIU, Yongqing WANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 55.

    During the overall processing of thin-walled parts (TWPs), the guaranteed capability of the machining process and quality is determined by fixtures. Therefore, reliable fixtures suitable for the structure and machining process of TWP are essential. In this review, the key role of fixtures in the manufacturing system is initially discussed. The main problems in machining and workholding due to the characteristics of TWP are then analyzed in detail. Afterward, the definition of TWP fixtures is reinterpreted from narrow and broad perspectives. Fixture functions corresponding to the issues of machining and workholding are then clearly stated. Fixture categories are classified systematically according to previous research achievements, and the operation mode, functional characteristics, and structure of each fixture are comprehensively described. The function and execution mode of TWP fixtures are then systematically summarized and analyzed, and the functions of various TWP fixtures are evaluated. Some directions for future research on TWP fixtures technology are also proposed. The main purpose of this review is to provide some reference and guidance for scholars to examine TWP fixtures.

    Haiying WEN, Jianxiong ZHU, Hui ZHANG, Min DAI, Bin LI, Zhisheng ZHANG, Weiliang XU, Ming CONG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 31.

    Masticatory robots are an effective in vitro performance testing device for dental material and mandibular prostheses. A cable-driven linear actuator (CDLA) capable of bidirectional motion is proposed in this study to design a masticatory robot that can achieve increasingly human-like chewing motion. The CDLA presents remarkable advantages, such as lightweight and high stiffness structure, in using cable amplification and pulley systems. This work also exploits the proposed CDLA and designs a masticatory robot called Southeast University masticatory robot (SMAR) to solve existing problems, such as bulky driving linkage and position change of the muscle’s origin. Stiffness analysis and performance experiment validate the CDLA’s efficiency, with its stiffness reaching 1379.6 N/mm (number of cable parts n = 4), which is 21.4 times the input wire stiffness. Accordingly, the CDLA’s force transmission efficiencies in two directions are 84.5% and 85.9%. Chewing experiments are carried out on the developed masticatory robot to verify whether the CDLA can help SMAR achieve a natural human-like chewing motion and sufficient chewing forces for potential applications in performance tests of dental materials or prostheses.

    Kaikai LI, Longsheng LU, Huaping CHEN, Guoxiang JIANG, Huanwen DING, Min YU, Yingxi XIE
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 12.

    Surgical electrodes rely on thermal effect of high-frequency current and are a widely used medical tool for cutting and coagulating biological tissue. However, tissue adhesion on the electrode surface and thermal injury to adjacent tissue are serious problems in surgery that can affect cutting performance. A bionic microstriped structure mimicking a banana leaf was constructed on the electrode via nanosecond laser surface texturing, followed by silanization treatment, to enhance lyophobicity. The effect of initial, simple grid-textured, and bionic electrodes with different wettabilities on tissue adhesion and thermal injury were investigated using horizontal and vertical cutting modes. Results showed that the bionic electrode with high lyophobicity can effectively reduce tissue adhesion mass and thermal injury depth/area compared with the initial electrode. The formation mechanism of adhered tissue was discussed in terms of morphological features, and the potential mechanism for antiadhesion and heat dissipation of the bionic electrode was revealed. Furthermore, we evaluated the influence of groove depth on tissue adhesion and thermal injury and then verified the antiadhesion stability of the bionic electrode. This study demonstrates a promising approach for improving the cutting performance of surgical electrodes.

    Dexiang WANG, Yu ZHANG, Qiliang ZHAO, Jingliang JIANG, Guoliang LIU, Changhe LI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 17.

    Carbon group nanofluids can further improve the friction-reducing and anti-wear properties of minimum quantity lubrication (MQL). However, the formation mechanism of lubrication films generated by carbon group nanofluids on MQL grinding interfaces is not fully revealed due to lack of sufficient evidence. Here, molecular dynamic simulations for the abrasive grain/workpiece interface were conducted under nanofluid MQL, MQL, and dry grinding conditions. Three kinds of carbon group nanoparticles, i.e., nanodiamond (ND), carbon nanotube (CNT), and graphene nanosheet (GN), were taken as representative specimens. The [BMIM]BF4 ionic liquid was used as base fluid. The materials used as workpiece and abrasive grain were the single-crystal Ni–Fe–Cr series of Ni-based alloy and single-crystal cubic boron nitride (CBN), respectively. Tangential grinding force was used to evaluate the lubrication performance under the grinding conditions. The abrasive grain/workpiece contact states under the different grinding conditions were compared to reveal the formation mechanism of the lubrication film. Investigations showed the formation of a boundary lubrication film on the abrasive grain/workpiece interface under the MQL condition, with the ionic liquid molecules absorbing in the groove-like fractures on the grain wear’s flat face. The boundary lubrication film underwent a friction-reducing effect by reducing the abrasive grain/workpiece contact area. Under the nanofluid MQL condition, the carbon group nanoparticles further enhanced the tribological performance of the MQL technique that had benefited from their corresponding tribological behaviors on the abrasive grain/workpiece interface. The behaviors involved the rolling effect of ND, the rolling and sliding effects of CNT, and the interlayer shear effect of GN. Compared with the findings under the MQL condition, the tangential grinding forces could be further reduced by 8.5%, 12.0%, and 14.1% under the diamond, CNT, and graphene nanofluid MQL conditions, respectively.

    Zhenjing DUAN, Changhe LI, Yanbin ZHANG, Min YANG, Teng GAO, Xin LIU, Runze LI, Zafar SAID, Sujan DEBNATH, Shubham SHARMA
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 4.

    Aerospace aluminum alloy is the most used structural material for rockets, aircraft, spacecraft, and space stations. The deterioration of surface integrity of dry machining and the insufficient heat transfer capacity of minimal quantity lubrication have become the bottleneck of lubrication and heat dissipation of aerospace aluminum alloy. However, the excellent thermal conductivity and tribological properties of nanofluids are expected to fill this gap. The traditional milling force models are mainly based on empirical models and finite element simulations, which are insufficient to guide industrial manufacturing. In this study, the milling force of the integral end milling cutter is deduced by force analysis of the milling cutter element and numerical simulation. The instantaneous milling force model of the integral end milling cutter is established under the condition of dry and nanofluid minimal quantity lubrication (NMQL) based on the dual mechanism of the shear effect on the rake face of the milling cutter and the plow cutting effect on the flank surface. A single factor experiment is designed to introduce NMQL and the milling feed factor into the instantaneous milling force coefficient. The average absolute errors in the prediction of milling forces for the NMQL are 13.3%, 2.3%, and 7.6% in the x-, y-, and z-direction, respectively. Compared with the milling forces obtained by dry milling, those by NMQL decrease by 21.4%, 17.7%, and 18.5% in the x-, y-, and z-direction, respectively.

    Haitao LUO, Qiming WEI, Yuxin LI, Junlin LI, Wei ZHANG, Weijia ZHOU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(2): 16.

    To examine the environmental characteristics of the microgravity force and the weathered layer on an asteroid surface, a symmetric wheel brush asteroid sampler is proposed for the collection of particles on the asteroid surface. To study the influence of the wheel brush rotation speed on the sampling efficiency and the driving torque required for the wheel brush, the contact dynamics model between particles and sampling wheel brushes is established and a simulation and experimental verification of the sampling process are conducted. The parameter calibration of the sampled particles is studied first, and the calibrated particle parameters are used in the numerical simulation of the sampling process. The sampling results and the particle stream curves are obtained for the working conditions of different rotation speeds, and the effects of different parameter settings on the sampling efficiency are analyzed. In addition, a set of rotating symmetrical sampling wheel brush devices is built for the ground test, and the dynamic torque sensor is used to test the torque change of the wheel brush during the sampling process. The relationship between the speed of the wheel brush and the driving torque of the wheel brush motor is determined by comparing the simulation results with the test results. Results indicate that when the rotating speed of the wheel brush is faster, the sampling efficiency is higher, and the driving torque required for the sampling wheel brush is greater. Moreover, a numerical simulation analysis of the sampling process of the wheel brush sampler in a microgravity environment is conducted to determine the optimal speed condition, and the brushing test of the wheel brush sampler in the microgravity environment is verified with the drop tower method. This research proposes the structural optimization design and motor selection of a wheel brush asteroid sampler, which provides important reference value and engineering significance.

    Aodi YANG, Shuting WANG, Nianmeng LUO, Tifan XIONG, Xianda XIE
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 54.

    In this work, we put forward a massively efficient filter for topology optimization (TO) utilizing the splitting of tensor product structure. With the aid of splitting technique, the traditional weight matrices of B-splines and non-uniform rational B-spline implicit filters are decomposed equivalently into two or three submatrices, by which the sensitivity analysis is reformulated for the nodal design variables without altering the optimization process. Afterwards, an explicit sensitivity filter, which is decomposed by the splitting pipeline as that applied to implicit filter, is established in terms of the tensor product of the axial distances between adjacent element centroids, and the corresponding sensitivity analysis is derived for elemental design variables. According to the numerical results, the average updating time for the design variables is accelerated by two-order-of-magnitude for the decomposed filter compared with the traditional filter. In addition, the memory burden and computing time of the weight matrix are decreased by six- and three-order-of-magnitude for the decomposed filter. Therefore, the proposed filter is massively improved by the splitting of tensor product structure and delivers a much more efficient way of solving TO problems in the frameworks of isogeometric analysis and finite element analysis.

    Yuying YANG, Min YANG, Changhe LI, Runze LI, Zafar SAID, Hafiz Muhammad ALI, Shubham SHARMA
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 1.

    Bone grinding is an essential and vital procedure in most surgical operations. Currently, the insufficient cooling capacity of dry grinding, poor visibility of drip irrigation surgery area, and large grinding force leading to high grinding temperature are the technical bottlenecks of micro-grinding. A new micro-grinding process called ultrasonic vibration-assisted nanoparticle jet mist cooling (U-NJMC) is innovatively proposed to solve the technical problem. It combines the advantages of ultrasonic vibration (UV) and nanoparticle jet mist cooling (NJMC). Notwithstanding, the combined effect of multi parameter collaborative of U-NJMC on cooling has not been investigated. The grinding force, friction coefficient, specific grinding energy, and grinding temperature under dry, drip irrigation, UV, minimum quantity lubrication (MQL), NJMC, and U-NJMC micro-grinding were compared and analyzed. Results showed that the minimum normal grinding force and tangential grinding force of U-NJMC micro-grinding were 1.39 and 0.32 N, which were 75.1% and 82.9% less than those in dry grinding, respectively. The minimum friction coefficient and specific grinding energy were achieved using U-NJMC. Compared with dry, drip, UV, MQL, and NJMC grinding, the friction coefficient of U-NJMC was decreased by 31.3%, 17.0%, 19.0%, 9.8%, and 12.5%, respectively, and the specific grinding energy was decreased by 83.0%, 72.7%, 77.8%, 52.3%, and 64.7%, respectively. Compared with UV or NJMC alone, the grinding temperature of U-NJMC was decreased by 33.5% and 10.0%, respectively. These results showed that U-NJMC provides a novel approach for clinical surgical micro-grinding of biological bone.

    Puyi WANG, Yingchun BAI, Chuanliang FU, Cheng LIN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 2.

    Lightweight designs of new-energy vehicles can reduce energy consumption, thereby improving driving mileage. In this study, a lightweight design of a newly developed multi-material electric bus body structure is examined in combination with analytical target cascading (ATC). By proposing an ATC-based two-level optimization strategy, the original lightweight design problem is decomposed into the system level and three subsystem levels. The system-level optimization model is related to mass minimization with all the structural modal frequency constraints, while each subsystem-level optimization model is related to the sub-structural performance objective with sub-structure mass constraints. To enhance the interaction between two-level systems, each subsystem-level objective is reformulated as a penalty-based function coordinated with the system-level objective. To guarantee the accuracy of the model-based analysis, a finite element model is validated through experimental modal test. A sequential quadratic programming algorithm is used to address the defined optimization problem for effective convergence. Compared with the initial design, the total mass is reduced by 49 kg, and the torsional stiffness is increased by 17.5%. In addition, the obtained design is also validated through strength analysis.

    Zhenghao ZHANG, Yi HUANG, Shuncong ZHONG, Tingling LIN, Yujie ZHONG, Qiuming ZENG, Walter NSENGIYUMVA, Yingjie YU, Zhike PENG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 49.

    As a nondestructive testing technique, terahertz time-domain spectroscopy technology is commonly used to measure the thickness of ceramic coat in thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). However, the invisibility of ceramic/thermally grown oxide (TGO) reflective wave leads to the measurement failure of natural growth TGO whose thickness is below 10 μm in TBCs. To detect and monitor TGO in the emergence stage, a time of flight (TOF) improved TGO thickness measurement method is proposed. A simulative investigation on propagation characteristics of terahertz shows the linear relationship between TGO thickness and phase shift of feature wave. The accurate TOF increment could be acquired from wavelet soft threshold and cross-correlation function with negative effect reduction of environmental noise and system oscillation. Thus, the TGO thickness could be obtained efficiently from the TOF increment of the monitor area with different heating times. The averaged error of 1.61 μm in experimental results demonstrates the highly accurate and robust measurement of the proposed method, making it attractive for condition monitoring and life prediction of TBCs.

    Junhui ZHANG, Yining SHEN, Minyao GAN, Qi SU, Fei LYU, Bing XU, Yuan CHEN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 48.

    Well-designed surface textures can improve the tribological properties and the efficiency of the electro-hydrostatic actuator (EHA) pump under high-speed and high-pressure conditions. This study proposes a multi-objective optimization model to obtain the arbitrarily surface textures design of the slipper/swash plate interface for improving the mechanical and volumetric efficiency of the EHA pump. The model is composed of the lubrication film model, the component dynamic model considering the spinning motion, and the multi-objective optimization model. In this way, the arbitrary-shaped surface texture with the best comprehensive effect in the EHA pump is achieved and its positive effects in the EHA pump prototype are verified. Experimental results show a reduction in wear and an improvement in mechanical and volumetric efficiency by 1.4% and 0.8%, respectively, with the textured swash plate compared with the untextured one.

    Abubakar M. SADIQ, Yuanqing GU, Yu LUO, Yan CHEN, Kaixue MA
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 60.

    In the artificial intelligence-driven modern wireless communication system, antennas are required to be reconfigurable in terms of size according to changing application scenarios. However, conventional antennas with constant phase distributions cannot achieve enhanced gains in different reconfigurable sizes. In this paper, we propose a mechanically reconfigurable radiation array (RRA) based on miniaturized elements and a mechanically reconfigurable system to obtain gain-enhanced antennas in compact and deployed states. A five-element RRA with a phase-reconfigurable center element is designed and analyzed theoretically. The experimental sample has been fabricated, driven by a deployable frame with only one degree of freedom to realize the size and phase distribution reconfiguration simultaneously to validate the enhanced gains of RRA. The proposed RRA can be tessellated into larger arrays to achieve higher gains in other frequency regimes, such as terahertz or photonics applications with nanometer fabrication technology.

    Pengpeng LIAO, Yucai ZHANG, Guoyan ZHOU, Xiancheng ZHANG, Wenchun JIANG, Shantung TU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 46.

    The creep life of an aeroengine recuperator is investigated in terms of continuum damage mechanics by using finite element simulations. The effects of the manifold wall thickness and creep properties of brazing filler metal on the operating life of the recuperator are analyzed. Results show that the crack initiates from the brazing filler metal located on the outer surface of the manifold with the wall thickness of 2 mm and propagates throughout the whole region of the brazing filler metal when the creep time reaches 34900 h. The creep life of the recuperator meets the requirement of 40000 h continuous operation when the wall thickness increases to 3.5 mm, but its total weight increases by 15%. Decreasing the minimum creep strain rate with the enhancement of the creep strength of the brazing filler metal presents an obvious effect on the creep life of the recuperator. At the same stress level, the creep rupture time of the recuperator is enhanced by 13 times if the mismatch between the minimum creep rate of the filler and base metal is reduced by 20%.

    Yifan WU, Sheng GUO, Luquan LI, Lianzheng NIU, Xiao LI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(2): 24.

    Earth rover is a class of emerging wheeled-leg robots for nature exploration. At present, few methods for these robots’ leg design utilize a side-mounted spatial parallel mechanism. Thus, this paper presents a complete design process of a novel 5-degree-of-freedom (5-DOF) hybrid leg mechanism for our quadruped earth rover BJTUBOT. First, a general approach is proposed for constructing the novel leg mechanism. Subsequently, by evaluating the basic locomotion task (LT) of the rover based on screw theory, we determine the desired motion characteristic of the side-mounted leg and carry out its two feasible configurations. With regard to the synthesis method of the parallel mechanism, a family of concise hybrid leg mechanisms using the 6-DOF limbs and an L1F1C limb (which can provide a constraint force and a couple) is designed. In verifying the motion characteristics of this kind of leg, we select a typical (3-UPRU&RRRR)&R mechanism and then analyze its kinematic model, singularities, velocity mapping, workspace, dexterity, statics, and kinetostatic performance. Furthermore, the virtual quadruped rover equipped with this innovative leg mechanism is built. Various basic and specific LTs of the rover are demonstrated by simulation, which indicates that the flexibility of the legs can help the rover achieve multitasking.

    Yunpeng YIN, Yue ZHAO, Yuguang XIAO, Feng GAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(2): 26.

    This paper proposes a novel continuous footholds optimization method for legged robots to expand their walking ability on complex terrains. The algorithm can efficiently run onboard and online by using terrain perception information to protect the robot against slipping or tripping on the edge of obstacles, and to improve its stability and safety when walking on complex terrain. By relying on the depth camera installed on the robot and obtaining the terrain heightmap, the algorithm converts the discrete grid heightmap into a continuous costmap. Then, it constructs an optimization function combined with the robot’s state information to select the next footholds and generate the motion trajectory to control the robot’s locomotion. Compared with most existing footholds selection algorithms that rely on discrete enumeration search, as far as we know, the proposed algorithm is the first to use a continuous optimization method. We successfully implemented the algorithm on a hexapod robot, and verified its feasibility in a walking experiment on a complex terrain.

    Jingyan XIA, Ruyi HUANG, Yixiao LIAO, Jipu LI, Zhuyun CHEN, Weihua LI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(2): 32.

    One of the core challenges of intelligent fault diagnosis is that the diagnosis model requires numerous labeled training datasets to achieve satisfactory performance. Generating training data using a virtual model is a potential solution for addressing such a problem, and the construction of a high-fidelity virtual model is fundamental and critical for data generation. In this study, a digital twin-assisted dynamic model updating method for fault diagnosis is thus proposed to improve the fidelity and reliability of a virtual model, which can enhance the generated data quality. First, a virtual model is established to mirror the vibration response of a physical entity using a dynamic modeling method. Second, the modeling method is validated through a frequency analysis of the generated signal. Then, based on the signal similarity indicator, a physical–virtual signal interaction method is proposed to dynamically update the virtual model in which parameter sensitivity analysis, surrogate technique, and optimization algorithm are applied to increase the efficiency during the model updating. Finally, the proposed method is successfully applied to the dynamic model updating of a single-stage helical gearbox; the virtual data generated by this model can be used for gear fault diagnosis.

    Sen YIN, Yan BAO, Yanan PAN, Zhigang DONG, Zhuji JIN, Renke KANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 59.

    Nanoscale surface roughness of tungsten heavy alloy components is required in the nuclear industry and precision instruments. In this study, a high-performance ultrasonic elliptical vibration cutting (UEVC) system is developed to solve the precision machining problem of tungsten heavy alloy. A new design method of stepped bending vibration horn based on Timoshenko’s theory is first proposed, and its design process is greatly simplified. The arrangement and working principle of piezoelectric transducers on the ultrasonic vibrator using the fifth resonant mode of bending are analyzed to realize the dual-bending vibration modes. A cutting tool is installed at the end of the ultrasonic vibration unit to output the ultrasonic elliptical vibration locus, which is verified by finite element method. The vibration unit can display different three-degree-of-freedom (3-DOF) UEVC characteristics by adjusting the corresponding position of the unit and workpiece. A dual-channel ultrasonic power supply is developed to excite the ultrasonic vibration unit, which makes the UEVC system present the resonant frequency of 41 kHz and the maximum amplitude of 14.2 μm. Different microtopography and surface roughness are obtained by the cutting experiments of tungsten heavy alloy hemispherical workpiece with the UEVC system, which validates the proposed design’s technical capability and provides optimization basis for further improving the machining quality of the curved surface components of tungsten heavy alloy.

    Ke YIN, Chenkun QI, Yue GAO, Qiao SUN, Feng GAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 51.

    The prober with an immovable lander and a movable rover is commonly used to explore the Moon’s surface. The rover can complete the detection on relatively flat terrain of the lunar surface well, but its detection efficiency on deep craters and mountains is relatively low due to the difficulties of reaching such places. A lightweight four-legged landing and walking robot called “FLLWR” is designed in this study. It can take off and land repeatedly between any two sites wherever on deep craters, mountains or other challenging landforms that are difficult to reach by direct ground movement. The robot integrates the functions of a lander and a rover, including folding, deploying, repetitive landing, and walking. A landing control method via compliance control is proposed to solve the critical problem of impact energy dissipation to realize buffer landing. Repetitive landing experiments on a five-degree-of-freedom lunar gravity testing platform are performed. Under the landing conditions with a vertical velocity of 2.1 m/s and a loading weight of 140 kg, the torque safety margin is 10.3% and 16.7%, and the height safety margin is 36.4% and 50.1% for the cases with or without an additional horizontal disturbance velocity of 0.4 m/s, respectively. The study provides a novel insight into the next-generation lunar exploration equipment.

    Jun HUANG, Jiaming LIU, Kai LI, Lei ZHANG, Quan ZHANG, Yuan WANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 56.

    The development of organ-on-a-chip systems demands high requirements for adequate micro-pump performance, which needs excellent performance and effective transport of active cells. In this study, we designed a piezoelectric pump with a flexible venous valve inspired by that of humans. Performance test of the proposed pump with deionized water as the transmission medium shows a maximum output flow rate of 14.95 mL/min when the input voltage is 100 V, and the pump can transfer aqueous solutions of glycerol with a viscosity of 10.8 mPa·s. Cell survival rate can reach 97.22% with a yeast cell culture solution as the transmission medium. A computational model of the electric-solid-liquid multi-physical field coupling of the piezoelectric pump with a flexible venous valve is established, and simulation results are consistent with experimental results. The proposed pump can help to construct the circulating organ-on-a-chip system, and the simple structure and portable application can enrich the design of microfluidic systems. In addition, the multi-physical field coupling computational model established for the proposed piezoelectric pump can provide an in-depth study of the characteristics of the flow field, facilitating the optimal design of the micro-pump and providing a reference for the further study of active cell transport in organ-on-a-chip systems.

    Jin ZHANG, Xuefeng HUANG, Xinzhen KANG, Hao YI, Qianyue WANG, Huajun CAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(2): 28.

    Energy field-assisted machining technology has the potential to overcome the limitations of machining difficult-to-machine metal materials, such as poor machinability, low cutting efficiency, and high energy consumption. High-speed dry milling has emerged as a typical green processing technology due to its high processing efficiency and avoidance of cutting fluids. However, the lack of necessary cooling and lubrication in high-speed dry milling makes it difficult to meet the continuous milling requirements for difficult-to-machine metal materials. The introduction of advanced energy-field-assisted green processing technology can improve the machinability of such metallic materials and achieve efficient precision manufacturing, making it a focus of academic and industrial research. In this review, the characteristics and limitations of high-speed dry milling of difficult-to-machine metal materials, including titanium alloys, nickel-based alloys, and high-strength steel, are systematically explored. The laser energy field, ultrasonic energy field, and cryogenic minimum quantity lubrication energy fields are introduced. By analyzing the effects of changing the energy field and cutting parameters on tool wear, chip morphology, cutting force, temperature, and surface quality of the workpiece during milling, the superiority of energy-field-assisted milling of difficult-to-machine metal materials is demonstrated. Finally, the shortcomings and technical challenges of energy-field-assisted milling are summarized in detail, providing feasible ideas for realizing multi-energy field collaborative green machining of difficult-to-machine metal materials in the future.

    Wenjie JU, Hexi GONG, Keke QI, Rongjie KANG, Jian S. DAI, Zhibin SONG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 5.

    A nonlinear stiffness actuator (NSA) could achieve high torque/force resolution in low stiffness range and high bandwidth in high stiffness range, both of which are beneficial for physical interaction between a robot and the environment. Currently, most of NSAs are complex and hardly used for engineering. In this paper, oriented to engineering applications, a new simple NSA was proposed, mainly including leaf springs and especially designed cams, which could perform a predefined relationship between torque and deflection. The new NSA has a compact structure, and it is lightweight, both of which are also beneficial for its practical application. An analytical methodology that maps the predefined relationship between torque and deflection to the profile of the cam was developed. The optimal parameters of the structure were given by analyzing the weight of the NSA and the mechanic characteristic of the leaf spring. Though sliding friction force is inevitable because no rollers were used in the cam-based mechanism, the sliding displacement between the cam and the leaf spring is very small, and consumption of sliding friction force is very low. Simulations of different torque‒deflection profiles were carried out to verify the accuracy and applicability of performing predefined torque‒deflection profiles. Three kinds of prototype experiments, including verification experiment of the predefined torque‒deflection profile, torque tracking experiment, and position tracking experiment under different loads, were conducted. The results prove the accuracy of performing the predefined torque‒deflection profile, the tracking performance, and the interactive performance of the new NSA.

    Rujun FAN, Yunhua LI, Liman YANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 50.

    Multiobjective trajectory planning is still face challenges due to certain practical requirements and multiple contradicting objectives optimized simultaneously. In this paper, a multiobjective trajectory optimization approach that sets energy consumption, execution time, and excavation volume as the objective functions is presented for the electro-hydraulic shovel (EHS). The proposed cubic polynomial S-curve is employed to plan the crowd and hoist speed of EHS. Then, a novel hybrid constrained multiobjective evolutionary algorithm based on decomposition is proposed to deal with this constrained multiobjective optimization problem. The normalization of objectives is introduced to minimize the unfavorable effect of orders of magnitude. A novel hybrid constraint handling approach based on ε-constraint and the adaptive penalty function method is utilized to discover infeasible solution information and improve population diversity. Finally, the entropy weight technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution method is used to select the most satisfied solution from the Pareto optimal set. The performance of the proposed strategy is validated and analyzed by a series of simulation and experimental studies. Results show that the proposed approach can provide the high-quality Pareto optimal solutions and outperforms other trajectory optimization schemes investigated in this article.

    Zhengyang DONG, Peng ZHAO, Kaipeng JI, Yuhong CHEN, Shiquan GAO, Jianzhong FU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 58.

    Density variation during the injection molding process directly reflects the state of plastic melt and contains valuable information for process monitoring and optimization. Therefore, in-situ density measurement is of great interest and has significant application value. The existing methods, such as pressure−volume−temperature (PVT) method, have the shortages of time-delay and high cost of sensors. This study is the first to propose an in-situ density measurement method using ultrasonic technology. The analyses of the time-domain and frequency-domain signals are combined in the proposed method. The ultrasonic velocity is obtained from the time-domain signals, and the acoustic impedance is computed through a full-spectral analysis of the frequency-domain signals. Experiments with different process conditions are conducted, including different melt temperature, injection speed, material, and mold structure. Results show that the proposed method has good agreement with the PVT method. The proposed method has the advantages of in-situ measurement, non-destructive, high accuracy, low cost, and is of great application value for the injection molding industry.

    Jianzhao WU, Chaoyong ZHANG, Kunlei LIAN, Jiahao SUN, Shuaikun ZHANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2022, 17(4): 47.

    In fiber laser beam welding (LBW), the selection of optimal processing parameters is challenging and plays a key role in improving the bead geometry and welding quality. This study proposes a multi-objective optimization framework by combining an ensemble of metamodels (EMs) with the multi-objective artificial bee colony algorithm (MOABC) to identify the optimal welding parameters. An inverse proportional weighting method that considers the leave-one-out prediction error is presented to construct EM, which incorporates the competitive strengths of three metamodels. EM constructs the correlation between processing parameters (laser power, welding speed, and distance defocus) and bead geometries (bead width, depth of penetration, neck width, and neck depth) with average errors of 10.95%, 7.04%, 7.63%, and 8.62%, respectively. On the basis of EM, MOABC is employed to approximate the Pareto front, and verification experiments show that the relative errors are less than 14.67%. Furthermore, the main effect and the interaction effect of processing parameters on bead geometries are studied. Results demonstrate that the proposed EM-MOABC is effective in guiding actual fiber LBW applications.

    Yang CAO, Biao ZHAO, Wenfeng DING, Qiang HUANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2023, 18(1): 14.

    Ultrasonic vibration-assisted grinding (UVAG) is an advanced hybrid process for the precision machining of difficult-to-cut materials. The resonator is a critical part of the UVAG system. Its performance considerably influences the vibration amplitude and resonant frequency. In this work, a novel perforated ultrasonic vibration platform resonator was developed for UVAG. The holes were evenly arranged at the top and side surfaces of the vibration platform to improve the vibration characteristics. A modified apparent elasticity method (AEM) was proposed to reveal the influence of holes on the vibration mode. The performance of the vibration platform was evaluated by the vibration tests and UVAG experiments of particulate-reinforced titanium matrix composites. Results indicate that the reasonable distribution of holes helps improve the resonant frequency and vibration mode. The modified AEM, the finite element method, and the vibration tests show a high degree of consistency for developing the perforated ultrasonic vibration platform with a maximum frequency error of 3%. The employment of ultrasonic vibration reduces the grinding force by 36% at most, thereby decreasing the machined surface defects, such as voids, cracks, and burnout.