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  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Dongxu WU, Fengzhou FANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 1-31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0602-6

    Optical interferometry is a powerful tool for measuring and characterizing areal surface topography in precision manufacturing. A variety of instruments based on optical interferometry have been developed to meet the measurement needs in various applications, but the existing techniques are simply not enough to meet the ever-increasing requirements in terms of accuracy, speed, robustness, and dynamic range, especially in on-line or on-machine conditions. This paper provides an in-depth perspective of surface topography reconstruction for optical interferometric measurements. Principles, configurations, and applications of typical optical interferometers with different capabilities and limitations are presented. Theoretical background and recent advances of fringe analysis algorithms, including coherence peak sensing and phase-shifting algorithm, are summarized. The new developments in measurement accuracy and repeatability, noise resistance, self-calibration ability, and computational efficiency are discussed. This paper also presents the new challenges that optical interferometry techniques are facing in surface topography measurement. To address these challenges, advanced techniques in image stitching, on-machine measurement, intelligent sampling, parallel computing, and deep learning are explored to improve the functional performance of optical interferometry in future manufacturing metrology.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yin ZHANG, Jianwei WU, Kunpeng XING, Zhongpu WEN, Jiubin TAN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 517-537. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0589-z

    This paper presents a dynamic and static error transfer model and uncertainty evaluation method for a high-speed variable-slit system based on a two- dimensional orthogonal double-layer air-floating guide rail structure. The motion accuracy of the scanning blade is affected by both the moving component it is attached to and the moving component of the following blade during high-speed motion. First, an error transfer model of the high-speed variable-slit system is established, and the influence coefficients are calculated for each source of error associated with the accuracy of the blade motion. Then, the maximum range of each error source is determined by simulation and experiment. Finally, the uncertainty of the blade displacement measurement is evaluated using the Monte Carlo method. The proposed model can evaluate the performance of the complex mechanical system and be used to guide the design.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jimu LIU, Yuan TIAN, Feng GAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 351-364. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0594-2

    The manufacture and maintenance of large parts in ships, trains, aircrafts, and so on create an increasing demand for mobile machine tools to perform in-situ operations. However, few mobile robots can accommodate the complex environment of industrial plants while performing machining tasks. This study proposes a novel six-legged walking machine tool consisting of a legged mobile robot and a portable parallel kinematic machine tool. The kinematic model of the entire system is presented, and the workspace of different components, including a leg, the body, and the head, is analyzed. A hierarchical motion planning scheme is proposed to take advantage of the large workspace of the legged mobile platform and the high precision of the parallel machine tool. The repeatability of the head motion, body motion, and walking distance is evaluated through experiments, which is 0.11, 1.0, and 3.4 mm, respectively. Finally, an application scenario is shown in which the walking machine tool steps successfully over a 250 mm-high obstacle and drills a hole in an aluminum plate. The experiments prove the rationality of the hierarchical motion planning scheme and demonstrate the extensive potential of the walking machine tool for in-situ operations on large parts.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Adam BENNETT, Nan YU, Marco CASTELLI, Guoda CHEN, Alessio BALLERI, Takuya URAYAMA, Fengzhou FANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 122-132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0603-5

    Microwave induced plasma torches find wide applications in material and chemical analysis. Investigation of a coaxial electrode microwave induced plasma (CE–MIP) torch is conducted in this study, making it available for glass surface modification and polishing. A dedicated nozzle is designed to inject secondary gases into the main plasma jet. This study details the adaptation of a characterisation process for CE–MIP technology. Microwave spectrum analysis is used to create a polar plot of the microwave energy being emitted from the coaxial electrode, where the microwave energy couples with the gas to generate the plasma jet. Optical emission spectroscopy analysis is also employed to create spatial maps of the photonic intensity distribution within the plasma jet when different additional gases are injected into it. The CE–MIP torch is experimentally tested for surface energy modification on glass where it creates a super-hydrophilic surface.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yanlin HAO, Yaobin TIAN, Jianxu WU, Yezhuo LI, Yan-An YAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 365-373. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0585-3

    This study presents two kinds of rolling robots that are able to roll by deforming their outer shapes with a single degree of freedom. Each robot is an essential multi-loop planar expandable linkage constructed by a concave outer loop and several inner parallelogram loops. In this study, the mechanical design of the robots is introduced. Dynamic rolling process is further analyzed on the basis of zero moment point method, and a morphing strategy is proposed to guarantee a stable dynamic rolling process. A novel passive rolling locomotion is also developed, which enables the robots to roll and stand on a slope. To verify the design, two prototypes are manufactured, wherein the dynamic and passive rolling locomotion are carried out.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xinyu HUI, Yingjie XU, Weihong ZHANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 475-483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0590-6

    In this study, the micro curing residual stresses of carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset polymer (CFRP) composites are evaluated using a multiscale modeling method. A thermochemical coupling model is developed at the macroscale level to obtain the distributions of temperature and degree of cure. Meanwhile, a representative volume element model of the composites is established at the microscale level. By introducing the information from the macroscale perspective, the curing residual stresses are calculated using the microscale model. The evolution of curing residual stresses reveals the interaction mechanism of fiber, matrix, and interphase period during the curing process. Results show that the curing residual stresses mostly present a tensile state in the matrix and a compressive state in the fiber. Furthermore, the curing residual stresses at different locations in the composites are calculated and discussed. Simulation results provide an important guideline for the analysis and design of CFRP composite structures.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Peng WEI, Wenwen WANG, Yang YANG, Michael Yu WANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 390-405. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0588-0

    The level set method (LSM), which is transplanted from the computer graphics field, has been successfully introduced into the structural topology optimization field for about two decades, but it still has not been widely applied to practical engineering problems as density-based methods do. One of the reasons is that it acts as a boundary evolution algorithm, which is not as flexible as density-based methods at controlling topology changes. In this study, a level set band method is proposed to overcome this drawback in handling topology changes in the level set framework. This scheme is proposed to improve the continuity of objective and constraint functions by incorporating one parameter, namely, level set band, to seamlessly combine LSM and density-based method to utilize their advantages. The proposed method demonstrates a flexible topology change by applying a certain size of the level set band and can converge to a clear boundary representation methodology. The method is easy to implement for improving existing LSMs and does not require the introduction of penalization or filtering factors that are prone to numerical issues. Several 2D and 3D numerical examples of compliance minimization problems are studied to illustrate the effects of the proposed method.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Guofeng MA, Renke KANG, Zhigang DONG, Sen YIN, Yan BAO, Dongming GUO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 538-546. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0598-y

    Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) composites are extremely attractive in the manufacturing of structural and functional components in the aircraft manufacturing field due to their outstanding properties, such as good fatigue resistance, high specific stiffness/strength, and good shock absorption. However, because of their inherent anisotropy, low interlamination strength, and abrasive characteristics, CFRP composites are considered difficult-to-cut materials and are prone to generating serious hole defects, such as delamination, tearing, and burrs. The advanced longitudinal–torsional coupled ultrasonic vibration assisted drilling (LTC-UAD) method has a potential application for drilling CFRP composites. At present, LTC-UAD is mainly adopted for drilling metal materials and rarely for CFRP. Therefore, this study analyzes the kinematic characteristics and the influence of feed rate on the drilling performance of LTC-UAD. Experimental results indicate that LTC-UAD can reduce the thrust force by 39% compared to conventional drilling. Furthermore, LTC-UAD can decrease the delamination and burr factors and improve the surface quality of the hole wall. Thus, LTC-UAD is an applicable process method for drilling components made with CFRP composites.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Heng LIU, Jie HONG, Dayi ZHANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 417-429. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0584-4

    The transverse stiffness and vibration characteristics of discontinuous beams can significantly differ from those of continuous beams given that an abrupt change in stiffness may occur at the interface of the former. In this study, the equations for the deflection curve and vibration frequencies of a simply supported discontinuous beam under axial loads are derived analytically on the basis of boundary, continuity, and deformation compatibility conditions by using equivalent spring models. The equation for the deflection curve is solved using undetermined coefficient methods. The normal function of the transverse vibration equation is obtained by separating variables. The differential equations for the beam that consider moments of inertia, shearing effects, and gyroscopic moments are investigated using the transfer matrix method. The deflection and vibration frequencies of the discontinuous beam are studied under different axial loads and connection spring stiffness. Results show that deflection decreases and vibration frequencies increase exponentially with increasing connection spring stiffness. Moreover, both variables remain steady when connection spring stiffness reaches a considerable value. Lastly, an experimental study is conducted to investigate the vibration characteristics of a discontinuous beam with a curvic coupling, and the results exhibit a good match with the proposed model.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xiaojun GU, Xiuzhong SU, Jun WANG, Yingjie XU, Jihong ZHU, Weihong ZHANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 547-557. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0595-1

    Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites have excellent mechanical properties, specifically, high specific stiffness and strength. However, most CFRP composites exhibit poor impact resistance. To overcome this limitation, this study presents a new plain-woven CFRP composite embedded with superelastic shape memory alloy (SMA) wires. Composite specimens are fabricated using the vacuum-assisted resin injection method. Drop-weight impact tests are conducted on composite specimens with and without SMA wires to evaluate the improvement of impact resistance. The material models of the CFRP composite and superelastic SMA wire are introduced and implemented into a finite element (FE) software by the explicit user-defined material subroutine. FE simulations of the drop-weight impact tests are performed to reveal the superelastic deformation and debonding failure of the SMA inserts. Improvement of the energy absorption capacity and toughness of the SMA-CFRP composite is confirmed by the comparison results.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jin ZENG, Chenguang ZHAO, Hui MA, Bangchun WEN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 374-389. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0580-8

    In the existing literature, most studies investigated the free vibrations of a rotating pre-twisted cantilever beam; however, few considered the effect of the elastic-support boundary and the quantification of modal coupling degree among different vibration directions. In addition, Coriolis, spin softening, and centrifugal stiffening effects are not fully included in the derived equations of motion of a rotating beam in most literature, especially the centrifugal stiffening effect in torsional direction. Considering these deficiencies, this study established a coupled flapwise–chordwise–axial–torsional dynamic model of a rotating double-tapered, pre-twisted, and inclined Timoshenko beam with elastic supports based on the semi-analytic method. Then, the proposed model was verified with experiments and ANSYS models using Beam188 and Shell181 elements. Finally, the effects of setting and pre-twisted angles on the degree of coupling among flapwise, chordwise, and torsional directions were quantified via modal strain energy ratios. Results showed that 1) the appearance of torsional vibration originates from the combined effect of flapwise–torsional and chordwise–torsional couplings dependent on the Coriolis effect, and that 2) the flapwise–chordwise coupling caused by the pure pre-twisted angle is stronger than that caused by the pure setting angle.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Peng ZOU, Xiangming CHEN, Hao CHEN, Guanhua XU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 558-570. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0591-5

    Experimental and finite element research was conducted on the bolted interference fit of a single-lap laminated structure to reveal the damage propagation mechanism and strength change law. A typical single-lap statically loading experiment was performed, and a finite element damage prediction model was built based on intralaminar progress damage theory. The model was programmed with a user subroutine and an interlaminar cohesive zone method. The deformation and damage propagation of the specimen were analyzed, and the failure mechanism of intralaminar and interlaminar damage during loading was discussed. The effect of secondary bending moment on load translation and damage distribution was revealed. The experimental and simulated load–displacement curves were compared to validate the developed model’s reliability, and the ultimate bearing strengths under different fit percentages were predicted. An optimal percentage was also recommended.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yuwang LIU, Dongqi WANG, Shangkui YANG, Jinguo LIU, Guangbo HAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 32-45. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0604-4

    Passive variable stiffness joints have unique advantages over active variable stiffness joints and are currently eliciting increased attention. Existing passive variable stiffness joints rely mainly on sensors and special control algorithms, resulting in a bandwidth-limited response speed of the joint. We propose a new passive power-source-free stiffness-self-adjustable mechanism that can be used as the elbow joint of a robot arm. The new mechanism does not require special stiffness regulating motors or sensors and can realize large-range self-adaptive adjustment of stiffness in a purely mechanical manner. The variable stiffness mechanism can automatically adjust joint stiffness in accordance with the magnitude of the payload, and this adjustment is a successful imitation of the stiffness adjustment characteristics of the human elbow. The response speed is high because sensors and control algorithms are not needed. The variable stiffness principle is explained, and the design of the variable stiffness mechanism is analyzed. A prototype is fabricated, and the associated hardware is set up to validate the analytical stiffness model and design experimentally.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yongliang YUAN, Liye LV, Shuo WANG, Xueguan SONG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 406-416. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0578-2

    Bucket wheel reclaimer (BWR) is an extremely complex engineering machine that involves multiple disciplines, such as structure, dynamics, and electromechanics. The conventional design strategy, namely, sequential strategy, is structural design followed by control optimization. However, the global optimal solution is difficult to achieve because of the discoordination of structural and control parameters. The co-design strategy is explored to address the aforementioned problem by combining the structural and control system design based on simultaneous dynamic optimization approach. The radial basis function model is applied for the planning of the rotation speed considering the relationships of subsystems to minimize the energy consumption per volume. Co-design strategy is implemented to resolve the optimization problem, and numerical results are compared with those of sequential strategy. The dynamic response of the BWR is also analyzed with different optimization strategies to evaluate the advantages of the strategies. Results indicate that co-design strategy not only can reduce the energy consumption of the BWR but also can achieve a smaller vibration amplitude than the sequential strategy.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yongqiang GUO, Chunguo XU, Jingtao HAN, Zhengyu WANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 622-630. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0565-7

    This study analyzed the deformation law of rear axles with variable wall thickness under bidirectional horizontal extrusion and found that necking was accompanied by upsetting deformation through theoretical calculation, numerical simulation, and experimental research. The sequence and occurrence of necking and upsetting deformations were obtained. A theory of deformation was proposed by controlling the distribution of temperature field. Effective processes to control the wall thickness of rear axle at different positions were also proposed. The ultimate limit deformation with a necking coefficient of 0.68 could be achieved using the temperature gradient coefficient. A new technology of two-step heating and two-step extrusion for a 13 t rear axle was developed, qualified test samples were obtained, and suggestions for further industrial application were put forward.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Vivek PATEL, Gaurav TIWARI, Ravikumar DUMPALA
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 438-474. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0579-1

    Studies on determining and analyzing the crushing response of tubular structures are of significant interest, primarily due to their relation to safety. Several aspects of tubular structures, such as geometry, material, configuration, and hybrid structure, have been used as criteria for evaluation. In this review, a comprehensive analysis of the important findings of extensive research on understanding the crushing response of thin-walled tubular structures is presented. Advancements in thin-walled structures, including multi-cell tube, honeycomb and foam-filled, multi wall, and functionally graded thickness tubes, are also discussed, focusing on their energy absorption ability. An extensive review of experimentation and numerical analysis used to extract the deformation behavior of materials, such as aluminum and steel, against static and dynamic loadings are also provided. Several tube shapes, such as tubes of uniform and nonuniform (tapered) cross sections of circular, square, and rectangular shapes, have been used in different studies to identify their efficacy. Apart from geometric and loading parameters, the effects of fabrication process, heat treatment, and triggering mechanism on initiating plastic deformation, such as cutouts and grooves, on the surface of tubular structures are discussed.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ning CHEN, Jieji ZHENG, Xianliang JIANG, Shixun FAN, Dapeng FAN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 585-599. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0577-3

    Micro-stepping motion of ultrasonic motors satisfies biomedical applications, such as cell operation and nuclear magnetic resonance, which require a precise compact-structure non-magnetization positioning device. When the pulse number is relatively small, the stopping characteristics have a non-negligible effect on the entire stepwise process. However, few studies have been conducted to show the rule of the open-loop stepwise motion, especially the shutdown stage. In this study, the modal differences of the shutdown stage are found connected with amplitude and velocity at the turn-off instant. Changes of the length in the contact area and driving zone as well as the input currents, vibration states, output torque, and axial pressure are derived by a simulation model to further explore the rules. The speed curves and vibration results in functions of different pulse numbers are compared, and the stepwise motion can be described by a two-stage two-order transfer function. A test workbench based on the Field Programmable Gate Array is built for acquiring the speed, currents, and feedback voltages of the startup–shutdown stage accurately with the help of its excellent synchronization performances. Therefore, stator vibration, rotor velocity, and terminal displacements under different pulse numbers can be compared. Moreover, the two-stage two-order model is identified on the stepwise speed curves, and the fitness over 85% between the simulation and test verifies the model availability. Finally, with the optimization of the pulse number, the motor achieves 3.3 µrad in clockwise and counterclockwise direction.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wenyuan LI, Yu HUANG, Youmin RONG, Long CHEN, Guojun ZHANG, Zhangrui GAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 97-110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0600-8

    Cutting quality and efficiency have always been important indicators of glass laser cutting. Laser scanning modes have two kinds, namely, the spiral and concentric circle scanning modes. These modes can achieve high-performance hole cutting of thick solar float glass using a 532-nm nanosecond laser. The mechanism of the glass laser cutting under these two different scanning modes has been described. Several experiments are conducted to explore the effect of machining parameters on cutting efficiency and quality under these two scanning modes. Results indicate that compared with the spiral scanning mode, the minimum area of edge chipping (218340 µm2) and the minimum Ra (3.01 µm) in the concentric circle scanning mode are reduced by 9.4% and 16.4% respectively. Moreover, the best cutting efficiency scanning mode is 14.2% faster than that in the spiral scanning mode. The best parameter combination for the concentric circle scanning mode is as follows: Scanning speed: 2200 mm/s, number of inner circles: 6, and circle spacing: 0.05 mm. This parameter combination reduces the chipping area and sidewall surface roughness by 8.8% and 9.6% respectively at the same cutting efficiency compared with the best spiral processing parameters. The range of glass processing that can be achieved in the concentric circle scanning mode is wider than that in the spiral counterpart. The analyses of surface topography, white spots, microstructures, and sidewall surface element composition are also performed. The study concluded that the concentric circle scanning mode shows evident advantages in the performance of solar float glass hole cutting.

  • VIEWS & COMMENTS
    Huijun ZOU, Qinghua LIANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 430-437. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0583-5

    The human social development saw the formation of five unique civilizations, with the latter forming their own distinctive cultures. China’s traditional culture is its most fundamental ideological weapon for solving problems. The Chinese are good at comprehensive thinking, dialectical thinking, and systematic analysis. These ideological weapons can solve the problems of formal science and technology and create scientific and technological achievements on par with global advanced scale. Ancient China is filled with original scientific and technological achievements, which strongly prove ancient China’s possession of its own science and technology different from that of Western Renaissance. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of science, technology, experience, and intuition is necessary. The long-held superstition regarding the West, the lack of confidence, self-denial, blind imitation of ideas, and shackles must be thrown away. Only then can we take the road toward an authentic Chinese creative design as we learn from others.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Bo WANG, Feng ZHAO, Zixu ZHAO, Kunpeng XU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 571-584. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0592-4

    Compared with traditional materials, composite materials have lower specific gravity, larger specific strength, larger specific modulus, and better designability structure and structural performance. However, the variability of structural properties hinders the control and prediction of the performance of composite materials. In this work, the Rayleigh–Ritz and orthogonal polynomial methods were used to derive the dynamic equations of composite materials and obtain the natural frequency expressions on the basis of the constitutive model of laminated composite materials. The correctness of the analytical model was verified by modal hammering and frequency sweep tests. On the basis of the established theoretical model, the influencing factors, including layers, thickness, and fiber angles, on the natural frequencies of laminated composites were analyzed. Furthermore, the coupling effects of layers, fiber angle, and lay-up sequence on the natural frequencies of composites were studied. Research results indicated that the proposed method could accurately and effectively analyze the influence of single and multiple factors on the natural frequencies of composite materials. Hence, this work provides a theoretical basis for preparing composite materials with different natural frequencies and meeting the requirements of different working conditions.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Tie ZHANG, Caicheng WU, Yanbiao ZOU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 645-658. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0601-7

    As the traditional cross-coupling control method cannot meet the requirements for tracking accuracy and contour control accuracy in large curvature positions, an integrated control strategy of cross-coupling contour error compensation based on chord error constraint, which consists of a cross-coupling controller and an improved position error compensator, is proposed. To reduce the contour error, a PI-type cross-coupling controller is designed, with its stability being analyzed by using the contour error transfer function. Moreover, a feed rate regulator based on the chord error constraint is proposed, which performs speed planning with the maximum feed rate allowed by the large curvature position as the constraint condition, so as to meet the requirements of large curvature positions for the chord error. Besides, an improved position error compensation method is further presented by combining the feed rate regulator with the position error compensator, which improves the tracking accuracy via the advance compensation of tracking error. The biaxial experimental results of non-uniform rational B-splines curves indicate that the proposed integrated control strategy can significantly improve the tracking and contour control accuracy in biaxial contour following tasks.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Tao SUN, Lufang QIN, Junming HOU, Yucan FU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 504-515. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0586-2

    The damage-tolerant titanium alloy TC21 is used extensively in important parts of advanced aircraft because of its high strength and durability. However, cutting TC21 entails problems, such as high cutting temperature, high tool tip stress, rapid tool wear, and difficulty guaranteeing processing quality. Orthogonal turn-milling can be used to solve these problems. In this study, the machinability of TC21 in orthogonal turn-milling is investigated experimentally to optimize the cutting parameters of orthogonal turn-milling and improve the machining efficiency, tool life, and machining quality of TC21. The mechanism of the effect of turn-milling parameters on tool life is discussed, the relationship between each parameter and tool life is analyzed, and the failure process of a TiAlN-coated tool in turn-milling is explored. Experiments are conducted on the integrity of the machined surface (surface roughness, metallographic structure, and work hardening) by turn-milling, and how the parameters influence such integrity is analyzed. Then, reasonable cutting parameters for TC21 in orthogonal turn-milling are recommended. This study provides strong guidance for exploring the machinability of difficult-to-cut-materials in orthogonal turn-milling and improves the applicability of orthogonal turn-milling for such materials.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Kirsten BOBZIN, Wolfgang WIETHEGER, Julian HEBING, Lidong ZHAO, Alexander SCHMIDT, Riza ISKANDAR, Joachim MAYER
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 496-503. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0582-6

    The wetting behavior of liquid metals is of great importance for many processes. For brazing, however, a targeted modification beyond the adjustment of conventional process parameters or the actual set-up was not possible in the past. Therefore, the effect of direct electric current along the surface of a steel substrate on the wetting behavior and the formation of the spreading pattern of an industrial nickel-based filler metal was investigated at a temperature above T = 1000 °C in a vacuum brazing furnace. By applying direct current up to I = 60 A the wetted surface area could be increased and the spreading of the molten filler metal could be controlled in dependence of the polarity of the electric current. The electric component of the Lorentz force is supposed to be feasible reasons for the observed dependence of the electrical polarity on the filler metal spreading direction. To evaluate the influence of the electric current on the phase formation subsequent selective electron microscope analyses of the spreading pattern were carried out.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Laihao YANG, Zhu MAO, Shuming WU, Xuefeng CHEN, Ruqiang YAN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 196-220. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0609-z

    This study aims at investigating the nonlinear dynamic behavior of rotating blade with transverse crack. A novel nonlinear rotating cracked blade model (NRCBM), which contains the spinning softening, centrifugal stiffening, Coriolis force, and crack closing effects, is developed based on continuous beam theory and strain energy release rate method. The rotating blade is considered as a cantilever beam fixed on the rigid hub with high rotating speed, and the crack is deemed to be open and close continuously in a trigonometric function way with the blade vibration. It is verified by the comparison with a finite element-based contact crack model and bilinear model that the proposed NRCBM can well capture the dynamic characteristics of the rotating blade with breathing crack. The dynamic behavior of rotating cracked blade is then investigated with NRCBM, and the nonlinear damage indicator (NDI) is introduced to characterize the nonlinearity caused by blade crack. The results show that NDI is a distinguishable indicator for the severity level estimation of the crack in rotating blade. It is found that severe crack (i.e., a closer crack position to blade root as well as larger crack depth) is expected to heavily reduce the stiffness of rotating blade and apparently result in a lower resonant frequency. Meanwhile, the super-harmonic resonances are verified to be distinguishable indicators for diagnosing the crack existence, and the third-order super-harmonic resonances can serve as an indicator for the presence of severe crack since it only distinctly appears when the crack is severe.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wenkun XIE, Fengzhou FANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 631-644. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0599-x

    The ever-increasing requirements for the scalable manufacturing of atomic-scale devices emphasize the significance of developing atomic-scale manufacturing technology. The mechanism of a single atomic layer removal in cutting is the key basic theoretical foundation for atomic-scale mechanical cutting. Material anisotropy is among the key decisive factors that could not be neglected in cutting at such a scale. In the present study, the crystallographic orientation effect on the cutting-based single atomic layer removal of monocrystalline copper is investigated by molecular dynamics simulation. When undeformed chip thickness is in the atomic scale, two kinds of single atomic layer removal mechanisms exist in cutting-based single atomic layer removal, namely, dislocation motion and extrusion, due to the differing atomic structures on different crystallographic planes. On close-packed crystallographic plane, the material removal is dominated by the shear stress-driven dislocation motion, whereas on non-close packed crystallographic planes, extrusion-dominated material removal dominates. To obtain an atomic, defect-free processed surface, the cutting needs to be conducted on the close-packed crystallographic planes of monocrystalline copper.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jintao LIANG, Zhengfeng MING, Peida LI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 600-609. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0597-z

    A primary permanent-magnet linear motor (PPMLM) has a robust secondary structure and high force density and is appropriate for direct-drive mechanical press. The structure of a four-side PPMLM drive press is presented based on our previous research. The entire press control system is constructed to realize various flexible forming processes. The control system scheme is determined in accordance with the mathematical model of PPMLM, and active disturbance rejection control is implemented in the servo controller. Field-circuit coupling simulation is applied to estimate the system’s performance. Then, a press prototype with 6 kN nominal force is fabricated, and the hardware platform of the control system is constructed for experimental study. Punch strokes with 0.06 m displacement are implemented at trapezoidal speeds of 0.1 and 0.2 m/s; the dynamic position tracking errors are less than 0.45 and 0.82 mm, respectively. Afterward, continuous reciprocating strokes are performed, and the positioning errors at the bottom dead center are less than 0.015 mm. Complex pulse trajectories are also achieved. The proposed PPMLM drive press exhibits a fast dynamic response and favorable tracking precision and is suitable for various forming processes.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Haixiao LIU, Li LI, Zhikang OUYANG, Wei SUN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 610-621. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0596-0

    The design, fabrication, and testing of soft sensors that measure elastomer curvature and mechanical finger bending are described in this study. The base of the soft sensors is polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which is a translucent elastomer. The main body of the soft sensors consists of three layers of silicone rubber plate, and the sensing element is a microchannel filled with gallium-indium-tin (Ga-In-Sn) alloy, which is embedded in the elastomer. First, the working principle of soft sensors is investigated, and their structure is designed. Second, the relationship between curvature and resistance is determined. Third, several sensors with different specifications are built in accordance with the structural design. Experiments show that the sensors exhibit high accuracy when the curvature changes within a certain range. Lastly, the soft sensors are applied to the measurement of mechanical finger bending. Experiments show that soft curvature sensors can effectively reflect mechanical finger bending and can be used to measure the bending of mechanical fingers with high sensitivity within a certain working range.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Genshen LIU, Huaiju LIU, Caichao ZHU, Tianyu MAO, Gang HU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 61-79. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0611-5

    Fatigue failure of gear transmission is one of the key factors that restrict the performance and service life of wind turbines. One of the major concerns in gear transmission under random loading conditions is the disregard of dynamic fatigue reliability in conventional design methods. Various issues, such as overweight structure or insufficient fatigue reliability, require continuous improvements in the reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) methodology. In this work, a novel gear transmission optimization model based on dynamic fatigue reliability sensitivity is developed to predict the optimal structural parameters of a wind turbine gear transmission. In the model, the dynamic fatigue reliability of the gear transmission is evaluated based on stress–strength interference theory. Design variables are determined based on the reliability sensitivity and correlation coefficient of the initial design parameters. The optimal structural parameters with the minimum volume are identified using the genetic algorithm in consideration of the dynamic fatigue reliability constraints. Comparison of the initial and optimized structures shows that the volume decreases by 3.58% while ensuring fatigue reliability. This work provides new insights into the RBDO of transmission systems from the perspective of reliability sensitivity.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jinghua XU, Hongsheng SHENG, Shuyou ZHANG, Jianrong TAN, Jinlian DENG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 133-150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0610-6

    Surface accuracy directly affects the surface quality and performance of mechanical parts. Circular hole, especially spatial non-planar hole set is the typical feature and working surface of mechanical parts. Compared with traditional machining methods, additive manufacturing (AM) technology can decrease the surface accuracy errors of circular holes during fabrication. However, an accuracy error may still exist on the surface of circular holes fabricated by AM due to the influence of staircase effect. This study proposes a surface accuracy optimization approach for mechanical parts with multiple circular holes for AM based on triangular fuzzy number (TFN). First, the feature lines on the manifold mesh are extracted using the dihedral angle method and normal tensor voting to detect the circular holes. Second, the optimal AM part build orientation is determined using the genetic algorithm to optimize the surface accuracy of the circular holes by minimizing the weighted volumetric error of the part. Third, the corresponding weights of the circular holes are calculated with the TFN analytic hierarchy process in accordance with the surface accuracy requirements. Lastly, an improved adaptive slicing algorithm is utilized to reduce the entire build time while maintaining the forming surface accuracy of the circular holes using digital twins via virtual printing. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is experimentally validated using two mechanical models.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Nianfeng WANG, Bicheng CHEN, Xiandong GE, Xianmin ZHANG, Wenbin WANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 163-175. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0605-3

    Crawling robots have elicited much attention in recent years due to their stable and efficient locomotion. In this work, several crawling robots are developed using two types of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs), namely, an axial elongation SPA and a dual bending SPA. By constraining the deformation of the elastomeric chamber, the SPAs realize their prescribed motions, and the deformations subjected to pressures are characterized with numerical models. Experiments are performed for verification, and the results show good agreement. The SPAs are fabricated by casting and developed into crawling robots with 3D-printing connectors. Control schemes are presented, and crawling tests are performed. The speeds predicted by the numerical models agree well with the speeds in the experiments.