Graduate student Robert Fowler received 1st place in the Graduate Division of the 2012 ASME International Student Mechanisms & Robotics Design competition. Fowler's written entry, “A monolithic large-displacement compliant rotational hinge,” was selected as a finalist to be presented at the ASME Design Engineering Conferences held in Chicago, Illinois August 12-15, 2012.
As a finalist, he presented in an interactive session with judges and conference attendees, followed by an oral presentation. The project developed a compliant hinge capable of 90 degrees of rotational displacement. Finite element analysis was used to model multiple design variations. Prototypes were built and tested using polypropylene, titanium, and carbon nanotube framework fabrication. The device shows promise as a compliant space hinge, and the titanium prototype was fabricated by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Robert has accepted a position with Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Colorado. Professor Larry Howell was his faculty advisor.