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Proceedings Paper

Flexible low-mass devices and mechanisms actuated by electroactive polymers
Author(s): Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Sean P. Leary; Mohsen Shahinpoor; Joycelyn S. Harrison; Joseph G. Smith
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Paper Abstract

Miniature, lightweight, miser actuators that operate similar to biological muscles can be used to develop robotic devices with unmatched capabilities to impact many technology areas. Electroactive polymers (EAP) offer the potential to producing such actuators and their main attractive feature is their ability to induce relatively large bending or longitudinal strain. Generally, these materials produce a relatively low force and the applications that can be considered at the current state of the art are relatively limited. This reported study is concentrating on the development of effective EAPs and the resultant enabling mechanisms employing their unique characteristics. Several EAP driven mechanisms, which emulate human hand, were developed including a gripper, manipulator arm and surface wiper. The manipulator arm was made of a composite rod with an EAP actuator consisting of a scrolled rope that is activated longitudinally by an electrostatic field. A gripper was made to serve as an end effector and it consisted of multiple bending EAP fingers for grabbing and holding such objects as rocks. An EAP surface wiper was developed to operate like a human finger and to demonstrate the potential to remove dust from optical and IR windows as well as solar cells. These EAP driven devices are taking advantage of the large actuation displacement of these materials but there is need for a significantly greater actuation force capability.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 1999
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3669, Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, (28 May 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.349697
Show Author Affiliations
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Sean P. Leary, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Mohsen Shahinpoor, Univ. of New Mexico (United States)
Joycelyn S. Harrison, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Joseph G. Smith, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3669:
Smart Structures and Materials 1999: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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