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RBE Master Thesis Presentation: Alexander Galvan | PMKS+: A tool to analyze and synthesize planar mechanisms

Friday, August 12, 2022
4:30 pm to 6:30 pm

RBE Master Thesis Presentation


Alexander Galvan

 PMKS+: A tool to analyze and synthesize planar mechanisms 

Monday, August 12th, 2022

4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Email for Zoom link


Abstract: Designing a planar mechanism for an application is a challenging activity. There are various modeling tools (linkage specific and generic CAD tools) available for this purpose, but users are expected to have a certain level of expertise to effectively use these tools. These tools often take a black box approach whereby no other information between the input and output will be available. Information such as equilibrium equations, loop equations for kinematic analyses, static forces, etc. will be helpful for students as they learn these topics in different courses. For the teaching team, availability of this information will save considerable time while evaluating student work and providing feedback. To enhance student understanding of mechanism design and analysis, and for complementing existing course work, a browser-based application called PMKS+ (Planar Mechanism Kinematic Simulator Plus, is being developed and tested in different courses at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The tool is being designed in such a way that novice users will be able to extract maximum benefit. Mechanisms consisting of different joints (revolute and prismatic), and links of various shapes, can be sketched and analyzed.  

This work focuses on the integration of various types of analyses within PMKS+. The analyses that have been integrated include kinematics, and force analyses (static equilibrium and Newton’s second law). Data from these analyses can be viewed as plots or exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis and interpretation. Equations corresponding to various analyses can also be viewed in the application. The application was tested in many courses that teach mechanisms where students compared the software generated results with their own MATLAB implementation. The availability of the software also helped the teaching team improve the feedback quality during office hours and help sessions. The student feedback has been highly positive with respect to software usability and applicability to coursework. As part of this work, several backend improvements and platform upgradation were also carried out to ensure stability during usage and to help add new features in the future. Details related to the application development, implementation in courses, feedback, and future activities will be discussed in depth.  


Professor Pradeep Radhakrishnan 


Prof. Nicholas Bertozzi, Robotics, WPI  

Prof. David C. Brown, Computer Science, WPI