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Actuators, Volume 4, Issue 4 (December 2015) – 8 articles , Pages 217-352

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Article
What Is an Artificial Muscle? A Systemic Approach.
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 336-352; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040336 - 11 Dec 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 5599
Abstract
Artificial muscles define a large category of actuators we propose to analyze in a systemic framework by considering any artificial muscle as an open-loop stable system for any output which represents an artificial muscle dimension resulting from its “contraction”, understood in a broad [...] Read more.
Artificial muscles define a large category of actuators we propose to analyze in a systemic framework by considering any artificial muscle as an open-loop stable system for any output which represents an artificial muscle dimension resulting from its “contraction”, understood in a broad meaning. This approach makes it possible to distinguish the artificial muscle from other actuators and to specify an original model for a linear artificial muscle, according to the theory of linear systems. Such a linear artificial muscle concept exhibits a constant stiffness independent on its control value. It is shown that a biomimetic actuator, made of two antagonist artificial muscles, requires that artificial muscle static characteristic, even in its most simplified form, is non-linear in the meaning of systems theory, to make possible the control of both actuator position and stiffness. However, we also attempt to show that a linear viscous damping can be a practical way for the dynamic behavior of the artificial muscle to be in relatively good accordance with the so-called Hill curve, interpreted as the dynamic characteristic linking the maximum contraction velocity of the artificial muscle to varying loads lifted against gravity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Article
Hybrid Multi-Physics Modeling of an Ultra-Fast Electro-Mechanical Actuator
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 314-335; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040314 - 08 Dec 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4867
Abstract
The challenges of an HVDC breaker are to generate impulsive forces in the order of hundreds of kilonewtons within fractions of a millisecond, to withstand the arising internal mechanical stresses and to transmit these forces via an electrically-insulating device to the contact system [...] Read more.
The challenges of an HVDC breaker are to generate impulsive forces in the order of hundreds of kilonewtons within fractions of a millisecond, to withstand the arising internal mechanical stresses and to transmit these forces via an electrically-insulating device to the contact system with minimum time delay. In this work, several models were developed with different levels of complexity, computation time and accuracy. Experiments were done with two mushroom-shaped armatures to validate the developed simulation models. It was concluded that although the electromagnetic force generation mechanism is highly sensitive to the mechanical response of the system, the developed first order hybrid model is able to predict the performance of the breaker with good accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Communication
A Smart Polymer Composite Based on a NiTi Ribbon and a Magnetic Hybrid Material for Actuators with Multiphysic Transduction
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 301-313; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040301 - 03 Dec 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5484
Abstract
A smart composite material constituted of a magnetic hybrid film and a NiTi shape memory alloy (SMA) ribbon was obtained and characterized. The magnetic hybrid film was joined to the NiTi ribbon in order to combine the properties of both materials. This new [...] Read more.
A smart composite material constituted of a magnetic hybrid film and a NiTi shape memory alloy (SMA) ribbon was obtained and characterized. The magnetic hybrid film was joined to the NiTi ribbon in order to combine the properties of both materials. This new composite material combines magnetic properties of the hybrid film, (Fe2O3-CMC)/(polyvinyl butyral), and the shape memory properties of the NiTi ribbon, which has a chemical composition of Ti-50.13 at. % Ni. This smart composite material has a mass of 18.3% NiTi ribbon and 81.7% magnetic hybrid film. Results obtained by DSC show that the smart composite material presents a small delay of transformation during warming and cooling because the magnetic hybrid film acts like a thermal insulator. Thermomechanical results indicate that the hybrid material also acts as a mechanical reinforcement, since it is observed that the Stress-Assisted Two-Way Memory Effect (SATWME) of the smart composite is lower than the SATWME of the SMA ribbon. The density current values of phase transformations were clearly identified with a thermomechanical apparatus developed in our laboratory. Finally, displacements of the smart composite material in cantilever configuration are obtained by applying an external magnetic field. All these results demonstrate that the smart composite material can be activated by temperature, electrical current, stress, and/or magnetic field, offering good expectations for actuating applications with multiphysic transduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Resolution Actuators)
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Article
Force-Sensing Actuator with a Compliant Flexure-Type Joint for a Robotic Manipulator
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 281-300; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040281 - 03 Dec 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 7397
Abstract
This paper deals with the mechatronic design of a novel self-sensing motor-to-joint transmission to be used for the actuation of robotic dexterous manipulators. Backdrivability, mechanical simplicity and efficient flexure joint structures are key concepts that have guided the mechanical design rationale to provide [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the mechatronic design of a novel self-sensing motor-to-joint transmission to be used for the actuation of robotic dexterous manipulators. Backdrivability, mechanical simplicity and efficient flexure joint structures are key concepts that have guided the mechanical design rationale to provide the actuator with force sensing capabilities. Indeed, a self-sensing characteristic is achieved by the specific design of high-resolution cable-driven actuators based on a DC motor, a ball-screw and a monolithic compliant anti-rotation system together with a novel flexure pivot providing a frictionless mechanical structure. That novel compliant pivot with a large angular range and a small center shift has been conceived of to provide the inter-phalangeal rotational degree of freedom of the fingers’ joints to be used for integration in a multi-fingered robotic gripper. Simultaneously, it helps to remove friction at the joint level of the mechanism. Experimental tests carried out on a prototype show an accurate matching between the model and the real behavior. Overall, this mechatronic design contributes to the improvement of the manipulation skills of robotic grippers, thanks to the combination of high performance mechanics, high sensitivity to external forces and compliance control capability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Resolution Actuators)
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Article
Role of α and β Transmembrane Domains in Integrin Clustering
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 267-280; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040267 - 20 Nov 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4155
Abstract
Integrins are transmembrane proteins playing a crucial role in the mechanical signal transduction from the outside to the inside of a cell, and vice versa. Nevertheless, this signal transduction could not be implemented by a single protein. Rather, in order for integrins to [...] Read more.
Integrins are transmembrane proteins playing a crucial role in the mechanical signal transduction from the outside to the inside of a cell, and vice versa. Nevertheless, this signal transduction could not be implemented by a single protein. Rather, in order for integrins to be able to participate in signal transduction, they need to be activated and produce clusters first. As integrins consist of α- and β-subunits that are separate in the active state, studying both subunits separately is of a great importance, for, in the active state, the distance between α- and β-subunits is long enough that they do not influence one another significantly. Thus, this study aims to investigate the tendency of transmembrane domains of integrins to form homodimers. We used both Steered and MARTINI Coarse-grained molecular dynamics method to perform our simulations, mainly because of a better resolution and computational feasibility that each of these methods could provide to us. Using the Steered molecular dynamics method for α- and β-subunits, we found that the localized lipid packing prevented them from clustering. Nonetheless, the lipid packing phenomenon was found to be an artifact after investigating this process using a coarse grained (CG) model. Exploiting the coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, we found that α- and β-subunits tend to form a stable homo-dimer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysical Micro- and Nano-Actuators)
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Article
Nonlinear Dynamic Modeling of Langevin-Type Piezoelectric Transducers
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 255-266; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040255 - 18 Nov 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4595
Abstract
Langevin transducers are employed in several applications, such as power ultrasound systems, naval hydrophones, and high-displacement actuators. Nonlinear effects can influence their performance, especially at high vibration amplitude levels. These nonlinear effects produce variations in the resonant frequency, harmonics of the excitation frequency, [...] Read more.
Langevin transducers are employed in several applications, such as power ultrasound systems, naval hydrophones, and high-displacement actuators. Nonlinear effects can influence their performance, especially at high vibration amplitude levels. These nonlinear effects produce variations in the resonant frequency, harmonics of the excitation frequency, in addition to loss of symmetry in the frequency response and “frequency domain hysteresis”. In this context, this paper presents a simplified nonlinear dynamic model of power ultrasound transducers requiring only two parameters for simulating the most relevant nonlinear effects. One parameter reproduces the changes in the resonance frequency and the other introduces the dependence of the frequency response on the history of the system. The piezoelectric constitutive equations are extended by a linear dependence of the elastic constant on the mechanical displacement amplitude. For introducing the frequency hysteresis, the elastic constant is computed by combining the current value of the mechanical amplitude with the previous state amplitude. The model developed in this work is applied for predicting the dynamic responses of a 26 kHz ultrasonic transducer. The comparison of theoretical and experimental responses, obtained at several input voltages around the tuned frequency, shows a good agreement, indicating that the model can accurately describe the transducer nonlinear behavior. Full article
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Article
Ionic Polymer Microactuator Activated by Photoresponsive Organic Proton Pumps
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 237-254; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040237 - 26 Oct 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4714
Abstract
An ionic polymer microactuator driven by an organic photoelectric proton pump transducer is described in this paper. The light responsive transducer is fabricated by using molecular self-assembly to immobilize oriented bacteriorhodopsin purple membrane (PM) patches on a bio-functionalized porous anodic alumina (PAA) substrate. [...] Read more.
An ionic polymer microactuator driven by an organic photoelectric proton pump transducer is described in this paper. The light responsive transducer is fabricated by using molecular self-assembly to immobilize oriented bacteriorhodopsin purple membrane (PM) patches on a bio-functionalized porous anodic alumina (PAA) substrate. When exposed to visible light, the PM proton pumps produce a unidirectional flow of ions through the structure’s nano-pores and alter the pH of the working solution in a microfluidic device. The change in pH is sufficient to generate an osmotic pressure difference across a hydroxyethyl methacrylate-acrylic acid (HEMA-AA) actuator shell and induce volume expansion or contraction. Experiments show that the transducer can generate an ionic gradient of 2.5 μM and ionic potential of 25 mV, producing a pH increase of 0.42 in the working solution. The ΔpH is sufficient to increase the volume of the HEMA-AA microactuator by 80%. The volumetric transformation of the hydrogel can be used as a valve to close a fluid transport micro-channel or apply minute force to a mechanically flexible microcantilever beam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysical Micro- and Nano-Actuators)
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Article
Design and Characterization of a High-Precision Digital Electromagnetic Actuator with Four Discrete Positions
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 217-236; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040217 - 21 Oct 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4689
Abstract
A high-precision planar digital electromagnetic actuator with two displacement directions and four discrete positions is presented in this paper. The four discrete positions are located at each corner of a square cavity where a mobile permanent magnet moves thanks to Lorentz forces generated [...] Read more.
A high-precision planar digital electromagnetic actuator with two displacement directions and four discrete positions is presented in this paper. The four discrete positions are located at each corner of a square cavity where a mobile permanent magnet moves thanks to Lorentz forces generated when a driving current passes through two orthogonal wires placed below the cavity. Four fixed permanent magnets are placed around the cavity in order to ensure high-precision magnetic holding of the mobile magnet at each discrete position. An analytical model of the actuator is presented and used to characterize its properties (switching time, energy consumption, and displaceable mass). Based on this model, an experimental prototype has been developed and then characterized. Comparisons between experimental and simulated results are carried out and show good agreement. The positioning repeatability errors have also been characterized according to the input signal in order to qualify the digital behavior of this high-precision actuator. Finally, an application of this digital actuator as a linear conveyor is presented and experimentally tested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Resolution Actuators)
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