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Open AccessArticle

Conductive Fabric Heaters for Heat-Activated Soft Actuators

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Actuators 2019, 8(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8010009
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Materials and Designs for Soft Actuators)
We examine electrically conductive fabrics as conductive heaters for heat-activated soft actuators. We have explored various fabric designs optimized for material properties, heat distribution and actuation/de-actuation characteristics of the soft actuators. We implemented this approach in the silicone/ethanol composite actuators, in which ethanol undergoes a thermally-induced phase change, leading to high actuation stress and strain. Various types of conductive fabrics were tested, and we developed a stretchable kirigami-based fabric design. We demonstrate a fabric heater that is capable of cyclic heating of the actuator to the required 80 °C. The fabric with the special kirigami design can withstand temperatures of up to 195 °C, can consume up to 30 W of power, and allows the actuator to reach >30% linear strain. This technology may be used in various systems involving thermally-induced actuation. View Full-Text
Keywords: soft robotics; conductive fabric; soft actuation; soft electronics; heating element; resistive heating; heating pattern; kirigami; thermal imaging; mechanical properties soft robotics; conductive fabric; soft actuation; soft electronics; heating element; resistive heating; heating pattern; kirigami; thermal imaging; mechanical properties
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cartolano, M.; Xia, B.; Miriyev, A.; Lipson, H. Conductive Fabric Heaters for Heat-Activated Soft Actuators. Actuators 2019, 8, 9.

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