Designing a Mechanical Latch for Robust Performance

  • François HemezEmail author
  • Kendra Van Buren
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


Advances in computational sciences in the past three decades, such as those embodied by the finite element method, have made it possible to perform design and analysis using numerical simulations. While they offer undeniable benefits for rapid prototyping and can shorten the design-test-optimize cycle, numerical simulations also introduce assumptions and various sources of uncertainty. Examples are modeling assumptions proposed to represent a nonlinear material behavior, energy dissipation mechanisms and environmental conditions, in addition to numerical effects such as truncation error, mesh adaptation and artificial dissipation. Given these sources of uncertainty, what is the best way to support a design decision using simulations? We propose that an effective simulation-based design hinges on the ability to establish the robustness of its performance to assumptions and sources of uncertainty. Robustness means that exploring the uncertainty space that characterizes the simulation should not violate the performance requirement. The theory of information-gap (“info-gap”) for decision-making under severe uncertainty is applied to assess the robustness of two competing designs. The application is the dynamic stress performance of a mechanical latch for a consumer electronics product. The results are that the variant design only yields 10 % improvement in robustness to uncertainty while requiring 44 % more material for manufacturing. The analysis provides a rigorous rationale to decide that the variant design is not viable. (Approved for unlimited, public release, LA-UR-21296, unclassified.)


Robust design Mechanical latch Finite element analysis Uncertainty quantification 


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Copyright information

© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Los Alamos National Laboratory, XTD-IDALos AlamosUSA
  2. 2.Los Alamos National Laboratory, XCP-8Los AlamosUSA

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