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Proceedings Paper

Artificial muscles of dielectric elastomers attached to artificial tendons of functionalized carbon fibers
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Paper Abstract

Dielectric elastomers are soft actuation materials with promising applications in robotics and biomedical de- vices. In this paper, a bio-inspired artificial muscle actuator with artificial tendons is developed for robotic arm applications. The actuator uses dielectric elastomer as artificial muscle and functionalized carbon fibers as artificial tendons. A VHB 4910 tape is used as the dielectric elastomer and PDMS is used as the bonding material to mechanically connect the carbon fibers to the elastomer. Carbon fibers are highly popular for their high electrical conductivities, mechanical strengths, and bio-compatibilities. After the acid treatments for the functionalization of carbon fibers (500 nm - 10 μm), one end of carbon fibers is spread into the PDMS material, which provides enough bonding strength with other dielectric elastomers, while the other end is connected to a DC power supply. To characterize the actuation capability of the dielectric elastomer and electrical conductivity of carbon fibers, a diaphragm actuator is fabricated, where the carbon fibers are connected to the actuator. To test the mechanical bonding between PDMS and carbon fibers, specimens of PDMS bonded with carbon fibers are fabricated. Experiments have been conducted to verify the actuation capability of the dielectric elastomer and mechanical bonding of PDMS with carbon fibers. The energy efficiency of the dielectric elastomer increases as the load increases, which can reach above 50%. The mechanical bonding is strong enough for robotic arm applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 March 2014
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 905616 (26 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2047212
Show Author Affiliations
Zhihang Ye, Wichita State Univ. (United States)
Md. Shahnewaz Sabit Faisal, Wichita State Univ. (United States)
Ramazan Asmatulu, Wichita State Univ. (United States)
Zheng Chen, Wichita State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9056:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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