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Inflatable dielectric elastomer robots for space
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric Elastomer Transducers (DETs) integrated into inflatable structures can form the basis for soft, low mass robots. Such robots will have very high packaging efficiency and be simple to deploy. These attributes, combined with the high power density of DETs make them ideal for space robots. In this paper we present a study of different motions achieved from the actuation of three distinct simple experimental designs. Firstly, the dome actuator constructed from a sheet of silicone rubber with segmented electrodes. Secondly, an elongation of the former, capable of producing locomotory motion from phased actuation of segments. Finally, a rolled cylindrical design varying the seam geometry, and electrode position and composition to produce different resonant and non-resonant motion. This study is comprised of experimental results, and finite element modelling of each design using commercially available FEM software. The different structures are simulated undergoing inflation and actuation, and the results compared to experimental data. Modal analyses of the inflated cylindrical structures are also compared with the frequency responses of the experimental models. Extrapolation of these basic units to more complex structures, designed to complement or replace existing space equipment, is presented for discussion alongside the remaining challenges.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 March 2019
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10966, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI, 109661L (22 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2514227
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph Ashby, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Samuel Rosset, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
E.-F. Markus Henke, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Technische Univ. Dresden (Germany)
Iain Anderson, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10966:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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