Date of Award

6-2011

Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Peter Schuster

Abstract

Hexapod trusses are an important element in many mechanical design systems. The natural frequency and stiffness behavior under geometric and mass variations of such structures is largely undocumented. Furthermore, the ability to quickly model hexapod designs and explore a large design-space in finite element software packages is, in general, time consuming and inefficient. The purpose of this project was to develop software tools that made design-space exploration (modeling and simulation processes) for hexapod structures drastically more efficient. Secondly, the project included an experimental analysis portion to demonstrate the various modal study techniques and to validate finite element analysis predictions. Lastly, the project investigated a specific hexapod design problem as a means of exhibiting the modeling/optimization software tools and to develop an understanding of the natural frequency behavior of hexapods. To this end, the research could be used for the design of telescope secondary support structures and other hexapod optimization engineering problems.