A large class of industrial machinery and commercial equipment is operated at high speed to satisfy the demands for high productivity. In order to further improve performance, it is proposed herein that the designer should consider fabricating the mechanism components in one of the commercially available composite materials because they offer many desirable characteristics with the promise of even higher speeds of operation. This paper presents an experimental and computational study of a flexible planar four-bar linkage fabricated from one of these composites. This fiber-reinforced material is modeled as an elastic solid by using a continuum theory which accommodates laminae with orthotropic properties, and differing densities, thicknesses, and elastic moduli. The theory is embodied in a variational theorem which serves as the basis for a finite element analysis of the mechanism.

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