Professor of Solid and Structural Mechanics

An Elastica Arm Scale

The concept of ‘deformable arm scale’ (completely different from a traditional rigid arm balance) is theoretically introduced and experimentally validated. The idea is not intuitive, but is the result of nonlinear equilibrium kinematics of rods inducing configurational forces, so that deflection of the arms becomes necessary for the equilibrium, which would be impossible for a rigid system. In particular, the rigid arms of usual scales are replaced by a flexible elastic lamina, free of sliding in a frictionless and inclined sliding sleeve, which can reach a unique equilibrium configuration when two vertical dead loads are applied. Prototypes realized to demonstrate the feasibility of the system show a high accuracy in the measure of load within a certain range of use. It is finally shown that the presented results are strongly related to snaking of confined beams, with implications on locomotion of serpents, plumbing, and smart oil drilling.

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