Actuators2016, 5(3), 19; doi:10.3390/act5030019 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper proposes a magnetic actuator using multiple vibration components to perform locomotion in a complex pipe with a 25 mm inner diameter. Due to the desire to increase the turning moment in a T-junction pipe, two vibration components were attached off-center to an acrylic plate with an eccentricity of 2 mm. The experimental results show that the magnetic actuator was able to move at 40.6 mm/s while pulling a load mass of 20 g in a pipe with an inner diameter of 25 mm. In addition, this magnetic actuator was able to move stably in U-junction and T-junction pipes. If a micro-camera is implemented in the future, the inspection of small complex pipes can be enabled. The possibility of inspection in pipes with a 25 mm inner diameter was shown by equipping the pipe with a micro-camera.
Actuators2016, 5(2), 18; doi:10.3390/act5020018 - published 17 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Driven by increasing societal, economic, and technological pressures, high-resolution actuators must achieve ever increasing accuracy requirements and functional integration into the system.[...]
Actuators2016, 5(2), 17; doi:10.3390/act5020017 - published 9 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Industrial robots are most often position controlled and insensitive to external forces. In many robotic applications, however, such as teleoperation, haptics for virtual reality, and collaborative robotics, a close cooperation between humans and robots is required. For such applications, force sensing and control capabilities are required for stable interactions with the operator and environment. The robots must also be backdrivable, i.e., the robot must be able to follow user’s induced movements with the least possible resistance. High force efficiency is also desirable. These requirements are different from the design drivers of traditional industrial robots and call for specific actuators and reducers. Many such devices were proposed in the literature. However, they suffer from several drawbacks, offering either a limited reduction ratio or being complex and bulky. This paper introduces a novel solution to this problem. A new differential cable drive reducer is presented. It is backdrivable, has a high efficiency, and a potentially infinite reduction ratio. A prototype actuator using such a reducer has been developed and integrated on a test bench. The experimental characterization of its performance confirms its theoretical advantages.
Actuators2016, 5(2), 16; doi:10.3390/act5020016 - published 2 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Recently various nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes and graphene, have been added to rubbery elastomers, such as poly dimethyl siloxane (PDMS), to enable generation of stress and displacement in response to remote illumination. While the response is primarily due to heat-induced generation of stress; i.e., the thermoelastic effect in rubbers, illuminated samples have shown unexpected deviations between the transient waveforms of sample temperature and induced stress. In this report we have created a new and simple lumped element model to explain the stress behavior of these photomechanical nanocomposites. The model consists of two parameters that describe the spatially averaged steady state temperature rise due to optical absorption of the structure (typically a long strip of pre-strained elastomer) and the spatially averaged convective cooling rate of the strip, together with a time-varying function that effectively represents the temperature distribution and thermal convection along the length of the strip. The model is used to compare two actuators that each have a thin embedded layer of carbon nanotubes, in which the one film consists of randomly aligned nanotubes and the other has a much more ordered alignment. The model not only fits both transient responses, but the differences between the parameters suggests that the ordered film conducts heat across the strip more rapidly than the disordered film, leading to it more rapidly reaching the steady state level of maximum stress. This model should be helpful in future experimental studies that work to observe, delineate and identify possible nanoscale and molecular contributions to photomechanical stress.
Actuators2016, 5(2), 15; doi:10.3390/act5020015 - published 1 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Piezoelectric ultrasonic motors offer important advantages for motion applications where high speed is coupled with high precision. The advances made in the recent decades in the field of ultrasonic motor based motion solutions allow the construction of complete motion platforms in the fields of semiconductors, aerospace and electro-optics. Among the various motor designs, the L1B2 motor type has been successful in industrial applications, offering high precision, effective control and operational robustness. This paper reviews the design of high precision motion solutions based on L1B2 ultrasonic motors—from the basic motor structure to the complete motion solution architecture, including motor drive and control, material considerations and performance envelope. The performance is demonstrated, via constructed motion stages, to exhibit fast move and settle, a repeatability window of tens of nanometers, lifetime into the tens of millions of operational cycles, and compatibility with clean room and aerospace environments. Example stages and modules for semiconductor, aerospace, electro-optical and biomedical applications are presented. The described semiconductor and aerospace solutions are powered by Nanomotion HR type motors, driven by a sine wave up to 80 V/mm rms, having a driving frequency of 39.6 kHz, providing a maximum force up to 4 N per driving element (at 5 W power consumption per element) and a maximum linear velocity above 300 mm/s. The described electro-optical modules are powered by small Nanomotion Edge motors driven by voltages up to 11 V AC, providing stall forces up to 0.35 N (power consumption up to 0.75 W) and maximum linear velocity above 200 mm/s.
Actuators2016, 5(2), 14; doi:10.3390/act5020014 - published 20 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper introduces recent advances on flapping-wing Micro and Nano Aerial Vehicles (MAVs and NAVs) based on Piezoelectric Actuators (PEA). Therefore, this work provides essential information to address the development of such bio-inspired aerial robots. PEA are commonly used in micro-robotics and precise positioning applications (e.g., micro-positioning and micro-manipulation), whereas within the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) domain, motors are the classical actuators used for rotary or fixed-wing configurations. Therefore, we consider it pertinent to provide essential information regarding the modeling and control of piezoelectric cantilever actuators to accelerate early design and development stages of aerial microrobots based on flapping-wing systems. In addition, the equations describing the aerodynamic behavior of a flapping-wing configuration are presented.