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Proceedings Paper

Artificial muscles versus natural actuators from frogs to flies
Author(s): Robert J. Full; Kenneth Meijer
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Paper Abstract

When is a human-made actuator an artificial muscle. Natural actuators in the animal kingdom vary greatly in their capacity and role. Maximum stress variety by 100-fold as does the velocity at which muscles contract. Some muscles generate near maximum force over broad strain ranges, while others function over only the narrowest ranges. Frequencies of operation range from less than 1 Hz to 1000 Hz. Mass- specific power output can reach over 250 W/kg muscle. Muscles function not simply as force generators, but as springs and dampers. Our isolated muscle experiments on insects show that some muscles function primarily as energy absorber sand have a role in control, while others are effective at power generation. At present, we are evaluating EAPs to see where these actuators fit in the functional space of nature's muscles. EAPs appear particularly promising as artificial muscles for insect-sized robots.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 June 2000
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 3987, Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (7 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.387761
Show Author Affiliations
Robert J. Full, Univ. of California/Berkeley (United States)
Kenneth Meijer, Univ. of California/Berkeley (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3987:
Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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