Reconfiguration of a smart surface using heteroclinic connections

Zhang, Jiaying and McInnes, Colin R and Xu, Ming (2017) Reconfiguration of a smart surface using heteroclinic connections. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. pp. 1-24. ISSN 1471-2962 (

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A reconfigurable smart surface with multiple equilibria is presented, modelled using discrete point masses and linear springs with geometric nonlinearity. An energy-efficient reconfiguration scheme is then investigated to connect equal-energy unstable (but actively controlled) equilibria. In principle zero net energy input is required to transition the surface between these unstable states, compared to transitions between stable equilibria across a potential barrier. These transitions between equal-energy unstable states therefore form heteroclinic connections in the phase space of the problem. Moreover, the smart surface model developed can be considered as a unit module for a range of applications, including modules which can aggregate together to form larger distributed smart surface systems.


Zhang, Jiaying ORCID logoORCID:, McInnes, Colin R and Xu, Ming;