Fully Compliant, Multistable Mechanism, Pseudo-rigid-body Model


A fully compliant multistable mechanism is a monolithic structure that is capable of staying at multiple positions without power input, and has many applications including switches, valves, positioners. However, it is difficult to design such a mechanism because of the complexities of the multistable behavior, the practical stress limits and the buckling constraints. This paper discusses the design approach for fully compliant multistable mechanisms which employs a single bistable mechanism and several end-effectors connected in series. The force-displacement characteristics of the end-effectors are derived using the pseudo-rigid-body model. The design approach to the fully compliant multistable mechanism is provided to determine the design parameters for the flexible segments considering the critical buckling load and the bending strength. Two design examples are presented to demonstrate the feasibility of the approach.

Original Publication Citation

Gou, Y., Chen, G., Howell, L.L., “A Design Approach to Fully Compliant Multistable Mechanisms Employing a Single Bistable Mechanism,” Mechanics Based Design of Structures and Machines, DOI: 10.1080/15397734.2019.1707685, Vo. 49, No. 7, pp. 986-1009, 2021, published online 2020.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Mechanics Based Design of Structures and Machines




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor