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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)
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Abstract

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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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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

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