9R17. Mechanism Design: Enumeration of Kinematic Structures According to Function. - Lung-Wen Tsai (Dept of Mech Eng, Bourns Col of Eng, UC, Riverside CA). CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton FL. 2001. 311 pp. ISBN 0-8493-0901-8. $89.95.

Reviewed by RL Norton (Dept of Mech Eng, WPI, 100 Institute Rd, Worcester MA 01609).

In the preface, the author states that this book Introduces a systematic methodology for the creation and classification of mechanisms. The book presents nine chapters and several appendices containing diagrams of linkage configurations in 306 pages, and has a four-page index. The book is labeled as a textbook and offers a small number of exercises at the end of each chapter. Its subject matter is somewhat narrow and specialized for use in an undergraduate kinematics course, though it might find use in a graduate course or as a supplemental text. It also should be of value to engineers engaged in machine design, especially where linkages are used.

The author uses a combination of graph theory, combinatorial analysis, and computer algorithms to define all the possible combinations of links and joints that yield usable isomers of both planar and spatial mechanisms having one or several degrees of freedom (dof). He provides atlases of these linkage combinations in the appendices and also defines the computational methods to generate them.

The book provides a useful collection of information on this kinematic topic, drawing from the available literature including much of the author’s previously published work. The early chapters provide definitions of terminology, the fundamentals of structural representation of mechanisms, and a review of graph theory, which is used extensively for mechanism classification in subsequent chapters.

Later chapters provide detailed analyses of the classification of planar linkages, geared mechanisms, and cam mechanisms. Spherical and spatial mechanisms are also addressed. A comprehensive enumeration of epicyclic gear trains of 1, 2, and 3-dof is provided along with atlases of these devices. Variable-stroke engine mechanisms, constant velocity shaft couplings, and automatic transmission gear trains are all addressed. Robotic wrist mechanisms and parallel manipulators such as the Stewart platform are also analyzed and classified.

In summary, the author has provided a very useful reference on the subject of mechanism classification. Extensive bibliographic references are provided as well. Mechanism Design: Enumeration of Kinematic Structures According to Function will be a useful addition to the bookshelf of any engineer involved with the design of mechanisms involving linkages and gear trains.