Compliant mechanisms gain some or all of their mobility from the flexibility of their members rather than from rigid-body joints only. Compliant mechanisms are desirable since they require fewer parts, and have less wear, noise, and backlash than their rigid-body counterpart mechanisms. The field of compliant mechanisms is important, and is expected to continue to grow as materials with superior properties are developed. Inasmuch as evolution of efficient design techniques is viewed as essential research activity, a parallel, systematic development of appropriate vocabulary (nomenclature, classification, etc.) is of primary importance. This paper proposes standard nomenclature for the components of compliant mechanisms and discusses the relevant issues involved in this process. Definitions for components, such as “links” and “joints,” remove ambiguity that has been associated with these terms in the past. A concerted effort is made to be consistent with current literature on both rigid-body mechanisms and compliant mechanisms whenever possible.

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