Development of smart variable stiffness actuators using polymer hydrogels
Santulli, C., Patel, S. I., Jeronimidis, G., Davis, F. J. and Mitchell, G. R. (2005) Development of smart variable stiffness actuators using polymer hydrogels. Smart Materials & Structures, 14 (2). pp. 434-440. ISSN 0964-1726
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1088/0964-1726/14/2/018
In this work, compliant actuators are developed by coupling braided structures and polymer gels, able to produce work by controlled gel swelling in the presence of water. A number of aspects related to the engineering of gel actuators were studied, including gel selection, modelling and experimentation of constant force and constant displacement behaviour, and response time. The actuator was intended for use as vibration neutralizer: with this aim, generation of a force of 10 N in a time not exceeding a second was needed. Results were promising in terms of force generation, although response time was still longer than required. In addition, the easiest way to obtain the reversibility of the effect is still under discussion: possible routes for improvement are suggested and will be the object of future work.