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The design of a robotic arm link using functionally graded materials : a case study

McMaster, Thomas A. M. and Yan, Xiu T. (2017) The design of a robotic arm link using functionally graded materials : a case study. In: 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), 2017-09-25 - 2017-09-29.

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The development and design of a functionally-graded material (FGM) robotic arm for supporting and manipulating a vision system is discussed in this paper. The aim is to understand if using FGMs effectively reduce mass compared to single material parts. The evolution of ideas using topological optimisation (TO) and FGMs towards the design are shown and reviewed. The final design uses TO, and as such needs to be manufactured using additive manufacture (AM). Constraints have been put in place to ensure physical manufacturability is possible. The final design reduces the mass compared to the original arm by 61.4%.