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Proceedings Paper

Use of aligned fibers to enhance the performance of dielectric elastomer inchworm robots
Author(s): Samuel Shian; Katia Bertoldi; David R. Clarke
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Paper Abstract

Inchworm based on the voltage actuation of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are amongst the simplest types of robots. We demonstrate a proof-of-concept inchworm robot that incorporates a few aligned fibers to suppress undesirable actuator bulging and more effectively convert the bending of a dielectric elastomer unimorph to forward motion. Finite element modeling confirms the role of the fibers in suppressing bulging but also shows that a threshold actuation voltage is required to convert the unimorph bending to forward motion of the inchworm. Based on the modeling results for unimorphs having different fiber spacing a simple inchworm is constructed and locomotion is demonstrated for actuation above the threshold voltage. Although not optimized, the inchworm illustrates the importance of using selectively positioned stiffening fibers as well as elastomers having lower viscoelastic losses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 94301P (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084140
Show Author Affiliations
Samuel Shian, Harvard Univ. (United States)
Katia Bertoldi, Harvard Univ. (United States)
David R. Clarke, Harvard Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9430:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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