Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Oliver Myers

Committee Member

Dr. Gang Li

Committee Member

Dr. Cameron Turner


Bistable composites are a class of advanced materials that can actuate between two stable shapes, making them attractive for a wide range of engineering applications. However, designing these composites to achieve optimal performance remains a challenging task. To address the challenge, this research develops an integrated framework that combines a genetic algorithm optimization technique, finite element analysis in Abaqus, and experimental testing to explore the design comparative space for square bistable composites composed of DA 409 carbon fibers. This leads to the study of generating an optimization algorithm to account for the relationship between the chances of a successful maximum deflection between states of a two-ply system by varying the edge lengths to a 2 by 2-inch, 3 by 3-inch, 4 by 4-inch, and 5 by 5-inch composite structure. The optimized ply systems are evaluated using finite element analysis in Abaqus to assess their maximum/total deformation post curing and are compared to the optimized laminate. Finally, physical samples are experimentally tested to validate the performance of the optimized designs and finite element analysis model. The results of this research underscored the effectiveness of the proposed integrated framework for exploring the design space of bistable composites. The validated design space provides a small difference in its total deformation, values less than 1mm which contributes on to the success rate of an operated control space. This method can be leveraged to optimize the performance of bistable composites for a variety of engineering applications, including morphing aerospace structures, deployable structures, and soft robotics. In doing so, this framework will substantially enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and practicality of bistable composites, setting a new standard for high-performance materials in the field.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024