SMA-Induced Deformations In general Unsymmetric Laminates
General unsymmetric laminates exhibit large natural curvatures at room temperature. Additionally, inherent to most unsymmetric laminates is the presence of two stable configurations. Multiple configurations and stability issues arise because of the geometric nonlinearities associated with the large curvatures. The laminate can be changed from one stable configuration to the other by a simple snap-through action. This situation offers the opportunity to use shape memory alloys (SMA) attached to the laminate to generate the snap-through forces and change the shape of the laminate on command. Presented is a model which can predict SMA-induced deformations in general unsymmetric laminates and, particularly, the occurrence of the snap through. First, a methodology is developed to predict the deformations of flat general unsymmetric epoxy-matrix composite laminates as they are cooled from their elevated cure temperature. Approximations to the strain fields are used in the expression for the total potential energy, and the Rayleigh-Ritz approach is used to study equilibrium. To further study the laminate deformations, finite-element analyses are performed. Experimental results are presented which confirm the predictions of the developed theory and the finite-element analyses regarding the existence of multiple solutions and the magnitude of the deformations. Results are compared with those of several other investigators. Next, the deformation behavior of general unsymmetric laminates subjected to applied forces is studied. The principle of virtual work is used to derive the equilibrium equations relating the laminate deformations to the applied forces. By solving the equilibrium equations as a function of the force level, relations between the laminate deformations and the applied force are derived, and the force level at which the laminate changes shape is determined. Finally, an existing SMA constitutive model is implemented into the developed theory to predict the deformations of simple structures to SMA-induced forces. Experiments on a narrow aluminium plate with an externally attached SMA actuator are conducted. The experimental results show good agreement with the predictions from the developed theory. Next, the deformation behavior of general unsymmetric laminates subjected to SMA actuators is predicted using the developed theory. Experiments using SMA actuators to generate the snap through of nsymmetric laminates are conducted. Good correlation with the developed theory is obtained.