Compliant mechanism

Compliant mechanism

In mechanical engineering, compliant mechanisms are flexible mechanisms that transfer an input force or displacement to another point through elastic body deformation. These may be monolithic (single-piece) or jointless structures.


  • Detail 1
  • Research Labs and Researchers 2
  • References 3
  • See also 4


Since many compliant mechanisms are single-piece structures, there is no need of assembly. With no joints, "rubbing" between two parts or friction as seen at the joints of rigid body mechanisms is absent. Compliant mechanisms are elastic.

Compliant mechanisms are usually designed using two techniques, the first being a pseudo-rigid-body model and the second, the topology optimization. Other techniques are being conceived to design these mechanisms. Compliant mechanisms manufactured in a plane that have motion emerging from said plane are known as lamina emergent mechanisms (LEMs).

The flexible drive or resilient drive, often used to couple an electric motor to a machine (for example. a pump), is one example. The drive consists of a rubber "spider" sandwiched between two metal dogs. One dog is fixed to the motor shaft and the other to the pump shaft. The flexibility of the rubber part compensates for any slight misalignment between the motor and the pump. See rag joint and giubo.

The Second International Symposium on Compliant Mechanisms (CoMe2011) was held on May 19-20th 2011 at Delft, The Netherlands.

Research Labs and Researchers

A number of labs and researchers are explicitly researching compliant mechanisms:

  • Prof. Larry Howell, Brigham Young University Compliant Mechanisms research[1]
  • University of Michigan Compliant Systems Design Lab[2]
  • Prof. Martin Culpepper at MIT Precision Compliant Systems Laboratory[3]
  • Prof. Just L. Herder at Delft University of Technology[4]

In addition, the following researchers may be doing compliant mechanism research:

  • [5]
  • [6]
  • [7]
  • [8]
  • [9]
  • [10]
  • [11]
  • [12]
  • [13]
  • [14]


  1. ^ Brigham Young University Compliant Mechanisms research
  2. ^ University of Michigan Compliant Systems Design Lab
  3. ^ Prof. Martin Culpepper at MIT Precision Compliant Systems Laboratory
  4. ^ Prof. Just L. Herder at Delft University of Technology
  5. ^ The Multidisciplinary and Multiscale Device and Design Laboratory (M2D2) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  6. ^ Prof. Sridhar Kota's Home Page
  7. ^ Prof. Shorya Awtar at University of Michigan
  8. ^ Prof. G. K. Ananthasuresh at IISc, Bangalore
  9. ^ Prof. Stephen L. Canfield at Tennessee Tech University
  10. ^ Prof. Charles Kim at Bucknell University
  11. ^ Prof. Anupam Saxena at IIT Kanpur, India
  12. ^ Prof. Mary Frecker at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  13. ^ Prof. Engin Tanık and Prof. Volkan Parlaktaş at Hacettepe University
  14. ^ Prof. Hai-Jun Su, Design Innovation and Simulation Lab at The Ohio State University
  • For a comprehensive list of references on synthesis of compliant mechanisms check the wiki page from the Interactive Mechanisms Research Group
  • Compliant Mechanism by Larry L. Howell, Willey Interscience

See also