Abstract

Four-bar linkages are commonly used mechanisms in various mechanical systems and components. Several techniques for optimum synthesis of planar mechanisms have been suggested in literature such as the Genetic, Tabu, Simulated Annealing, Swarm-Based and many other algorithms. This paper covers optimization of four-bar mechanisms with path generation tasks using a Dynamic Ant Search (DAS) algorithm. Unlike the Modified Ant Search (MAS) technique where ants unanimously moved between the exploration and exploitation phases, in the proposed algorithm, each ant is free to travel between the two aforementioned phases independent of other ants and as governed by its own pheromone intensity level. Moreover, sensitivity analysis is conducted on the design parameters to determine their corresponding neighborhood search boundaries and thus improve the search while in the exploitation mode. These implemented changes demonstrated a remarkable impact on the optimum synthesis of mechanisms for path generation tasks. A briefing of the MAS based algorithm is first presented after which the proposed modified optimization technique and its implementation on four-bar mechanisms are furnished. Finally, three case studies are conducted to evaluate the efficiency and robustness of the proposed methodology where the performances of the obtained optimum designs are benchmarked with those previously reported in literature.

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