Repository logo

Magnetic actuation and transition shapes of a bistable spherical cap



Change log


Loukaides, EG 
Smoukov, SK 
Seffen, KA 


Multistable shells have been proposed for a variety of applications; however, their actuation is almost exclusively addressed through embedded piezoelectric patches. Additional actuation techniques are needed for applications requiring high strains or where remote actuation is desirable. Part of the reason for the lack of research in this area is the absence of appropriate models describing the detailed deformation and energetics of such shells. This work presents a bistable spherical cap made of iron carbonyl-infused polydimethylsiloxane. The magnetizable structure can be actuated remotely through permanent magnets while the transition is recorded with a high-speed camera. Moreover, the experiment is reproduced in a finite element (FE) dynamic model for comparison with the physical observations. High-speed footage of the physical cap inversion together with the FE modeling gives valuable insight on preferable intermediate geometries. Both methods return similar values for the magnetic field strength required for the snap-through. High-strain multistable spherical cap transformation is demonstrated, based on informed material selection. We discover that non-axisymmetric transition shapes are preferred in intermediate geometries by bistable spherical caps. We develop the methods for design and analysis of such actuators, including the feasibility of remote actuation methods for multistable shells.



multistable, composites, magnetism, actuation

Journal Title

International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Informa UK Limited
European Research Council (280078)
EGL acknowledges financial support by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and the Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation. SKS acknowledges funding by the European Research Council (ERC) grant EMATTER [#280078].