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Proceedings Paper

A linear peristaltic MRF/foam actuator
Author(s): J. J. Larsen; C. H. Jenkins; U. A. Korde
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Paper Abstract

Magneto-rheological fluid (MRF) was first developed in the late 1940s. MRF consists of iron or other ferrous particles, typically on the order of 1 - 10 μm characteristic dimension, dispersed in a host carrier fluid, usually oil or water. In the presence of a magnetic field, the alignment of the iron particles along field lines results in the effective rheological properties of the composite fluid to be modified. In the "off" state (no field applied), the fluid has similar viscous properties to the host fluid. In the "on" state (field applied), the viscosity and yield stress can be significantly modified. Recently, MRF has been of interest in a number of novel devices, for example, for variable damping such as in automotive shock absorbers. In the present work, we briefly describe our initial investigations into variable damping MRF/foam devices. Open-cell polymer foam blocks were infused with commercial MRF and subjected to magnetic fields of various strengths. Drop tests were conducted by dropping a small indenter from a fixed platform and observing the rebound height as a function of applied field strength. The difference in rebound height can be directly related to loss of energy through damping. In the tests conducted, the energy absorbed by the MRF/foam increased from about 60% in the off-state device to over 90% in the on-state device. One of the difficulties encountered in performing the drop tests and providing credible data interpretation was that the MRF/foam itself changed dimensions under applied field. The iron particles in the fluid were attracted to the magnet and thus caused constriction of the foam block. Peristalsis is the process of involuntary and successive wave-like muscular contractions by which food is moved through the digestive tract. The esophagus, stomach, and intestines all move and/or mix food and liquid by peristalsis. Peristalsis is also used to move lymph through the lymphatic system. Inspired by biological peristalsis, peristaltic pumps in industry are common for a variety of material handling applications, particularly involving the movement of sterile fluids (for example, blood). The peristaltic pump is usually circular in configuration, relying on external rollers to move fluid within a tube. Some linear configuration pumps have been proposed and developed, however they are complicated than their circular counterparts. In the remaining part of the present work, we discuss the development of a linear peristaltic actuator based upon the deformation of MRF/foam. The actuator consists of an open-cell polymer foam substrate infused with MRF. To one side of the foam substrate resides a translating magnet, such that a magnetic field can be propagated down its length. The linear peristaltic action is generated as the transversely propagating field shapes the MRF/foam substrate in a corresponding way. Experimental results are discussed, an outline of on-going theoretical modeling is presented, and conclusions are provided.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2007
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6529, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2007, 652915 (18 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.715676
Show Author Affiliations
J. J. Larsen, Montana State Univ. (United States)
C. H. Jenkins, Montana State Univ. (United States)
U. A. Korde, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6529:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2007
Masayoshi Tomizuka; Chung-Bang Yun; Victor Giurgiutiu, Editor(s)

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