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Interactions Between Dielectric Elastomer Actuators and Soft Bodies

Authors Chen, Feifei
Wang, Michael Yu View this author's profile
Zhu, Jian
Zhang, Yun Feng
Issue Date 2016
Source Soft Robotics , v. 3, (4) December 2016, p. 161-169
Summary Soft robots have recently attracted much interest, and dielectric elastomers have shown great promise for soft actuators because of their large voltage-induced deformation. The actuation performance is primarily characterized by the largest deformation, based on the material failure analyses. However, most previous related work usually neglected the fact that, different from their counterpart in the field of traditional rigid robots, soft actuators are deeply coupled with the environment. Interactions between soft actuators and the environment are significant and under-researched, playing an important role in evaluating their actuation capabilities and in matching them with prescribed soft robotic systems. This article investigates the interactions between a dielectric elastomer balloon actuator and an actuated soft body. We present a computational model of the coupled system and look at the effects of mechanical and material designs on the performance of the balloon actuator. Parametric studies demonstrate that the actuation capability of the balloon actuator depends largely on the geometry and material ratios. This finding essentially improves our understanding toward the actuation capability of the soft actuator and provides insight into the optimal design of a soft robotic system.
ISSN 2169-5172
Language English
Format Article
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