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Actuators, Volume 8, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
A Multistate Friction Model for the Compensation of the Asymmetric Hysteresis in the Mechanical Response of Pneumatic Artificial Muscles
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020049
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
Viewed by 130 | PDF Full-text (716 KB)
Abstract
These days, biomimetic and compliant actuators have been made available to the main applications of rehabilitation and assistive robotics. In this context, the interaction control of soft robots, mechatronic surgical instruments and robotic prostheses can be improved through the adoption of pneumatic artificial [...] Read more.
These days, biomimetic and compliant actuators have been made available to the main applications of rehabilitation and assistive robotics. In this context, the interaction control of soft robots, mechatronic surgical instruments and robotic prostheses can be improved through the adoption of pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs), a class of compliant actuators that exhibit some similarities with the structure and function of biological muscles. Together with the advantage of implementing adaptive compliance control laws, the nonlinear and hysteretic force/length characteristics of PAMs pose some challenges in the design and implementation of tracking control strategies. This paper presents a parsimonious and accurate model of the asymmetric hysteresis observed in the force response of PAMs. The model has been validated through the experimental identification of the mechanical response of a small-sized PAM where the asymmetric effects of hysteresis are more evident. Both the experimental results and a comparison with other dynamic friction models show that the proposed model could be useful to implement efficient compensation strategies for the tracking control of soft robots. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Experimental Investigations on Self-Bearing Motors with Combined Torque and Electrodynamic Bearing Windings
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020048
Received: 7 May 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 11 June 2019
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Abstract
The centering guidance forces in self-bearing permanent magnet motors are magnetically integrated with the torque generation windings, and can take place in a single multifunction winding. This radial guidance is usually actively controlled as a function of the rotor position, with the drawbacks [...] Read more.
The centering guidance forces in self-bearing permanent magnet motors are magnetically integrated with the torque generation windings, and can take place in a single multifunction winding. This radial guidance is usually actively controlled as a function of the rotor position, with the drawbacks associated to actively controlled devices. This article describes how multifunction windings can passively generate electrodynamic centering forces without the need for specific additional electronics, and simultaneously a driving torque if fed by a power supply. It shows the experimental electromotive force (EMF) measures, both for the electrodynamic centering and for the motor functions, obtained on a prototype, operating in quasistatic conditions. It also shows the measured radial forces generated by the electrodynamic bearing and the measured drive torque in these conditions. These measures show a good agreement with model predictions. These measures also confirm the theoretical conclusions stating that it is possible to generate passive guidance forces and torque simultaneously in a single winding. The effect of adding external inductors on the coils of the prototype is also investigated by experimental measures and model predictions on the bearing radial forces, and on the motor driving torque. It is shown that these external inductors mainly affect the radial guidance forces with minor impact on the torque. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Vacuum Powered Soft Textile-Based Clutch
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020047
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 June 2019 / Published: 6 June 2019
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Abstract
We present the design, manufacturing, and characterization of a soft textile-based clutch (TBC) that uses vacuum stimulation to switch between locking and unlocking its linear displacement. The vacuum locks the relative sliding motion between two elaborated textile webbings with an elastic silicone rubber [...] Read more.
We present the design, manufacturing, and characterization of a soft textile-based clutch (TBC) that uses vacuum stimulation to switch between locking and unlocking its linear displacement. The vacuum locks the relative sliding motion between two elaborated textile webbings with an elastic silicone rubber bag. Various fabrication techniques, such as silicone casting on textiles and melt embossing for direct fabrication of miniature patterns on textile and sewing, were used to develop three groups of TBC samples based on friction and interlocking principles. Their performance was compared in a blocking configuration. The clutch with an interlocking mechanism presented the highest withstanding force (150 N) compared to that (54 N) recorded for the friction-based clutch. The simple and compact structure of the proposed clutch, together with the intrinsic adaptability of fabric with other clothing and soft materials, make it an appropriate solution for applications in soft wearable robotics and generally as a locking and variable stiffness solution for soft robotic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Materials and Designs for Soft Actuators)
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Open AccessReview
Carbon Nanostructures for Actuators: An Overview of Recent Developments
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020046
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 2 June 2019
Viewed by 344 | PDF Full-text (705 KB)
Abstract
In recent decades, micro and nanoscale technologies have become cutting-edge frontiers in material science and device developments. This worldwide trend has induced further improvements in actuator production with enhanced performance. A main role has been played by nanostructured carbon-based materials, i.e., carbon nanotubes [...] Read more.
In recent decades, micro and nanoscale technologies have become cutting-edge frontiers in material science and device developments. This worldwide trend has induced further improvements in actuator production with enhanced performance. A main role has been played by nanostructured carbon-based materials, i.e., carbon nanotubes and graphene, due to their intrinsic properties and easy functionalization. Moreover, the nanoscale decoration of these materials has led to the design of doped and decorated carbon-based devices effectively used as actuators incorporating metals and metal-based structures. This review provides an overview and discussion of the overall process for producing AC actuators using nanostructured, doped, and decorated carbon materials. It highlights the differences and common aspects that make carbon materials one of the most promising resources in the field of actuators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials-Based Actuators)
Open AccessReview
Review of Modeling and Control of Magnetostrictive Actuators
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020045
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
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Abstract
Magnetostrictive actuators play an important role in the perception of usefulness of smart materials and devices. Their applications are potentially wider than that of piezoelectric actuators because of the higher energy density and intrinsic robustness. However, the non-negligible hysteresis and complexity of their [...] Read more.
Magnetostrictive actuators play an important role in the perception of usefulness of smart materials and devices. Their applications are potentially wider than that of piezoelectric actuators because of the higher energy density and intrinsic robustness. However, the non-negligible hysteresis and complexity of their characteristics make the design and control quite difficult and has limited their diffusion in industrial applications. Nevertheless, the scientific literature presents a wide offer of results in design and geometries, modeling and control that may be exploited for applications. This paper gives a reasoned review of the main results achieved in the literature about design, modeling and control of magnetostrictive actuators exploiting the direct effects of magnetostriction (Joule and Wiedemann). Some perspectives and challenges about magnetostrictive actuators development are also gathered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials-Based Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical Simplification of Variable-Stiffness Actuators Using Dielectric Elastomer Transducers
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020044
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Legged and gait-assistance robots can walk more efficiently if their actuators are compliant. The adjustable compliance of variable-stiffness actuators (VSAs) can enhance this benefit. However, this functionality requires additional mechanical components making VSAs impractical for some uses due to increased weight, volume, and [...] Read more.
Legged and gait-assistance robots can walk more efficiently if their actuators are compliant. The adjustable compliance of variable-stiffness actuators (VSAs) can enhance this benefit. However, this functionality requires additional mechanical components making VSAs impractical for some uses due to increased weight, volume, and cost. VSAs would be more practical if they could modulate the stiffness of their springs without additional components, which usually include moving parts and an additional motor. Therefore, we designed a VSA that uses dielectric elastomer transducers (DETs) for springs. It does not need mechanical stiffness-adjusting components because DETs soften due to electrostatic forces. This paper presents details and performance of our design. Our DET VSA demonstrated independent modulation of its equilibrium position and stiffness. Our design approach could make it practical to obtain the benefits of variable-stiffness actuation with less weight, volume, and cost than normally accompanies them, once weaknesses of DET technology are addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Materials and Designs for Soft Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle
Semi-Active Vibration Control of a Non-Collocated Civil Structure Using Evolutionary-Based BELBIC
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020043
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 12 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
A buildings resilience to seismic activity can be increased by providing ways for the structure to dynamically counteract the effect of the Earth’s crust movements. This ability is fundamental in certain regions of the globe, where earthquakes are more frequent, and can be [...] Read more.
A buildings resilience to seismic activity can be increased by providing ways for the structure to dynamically counteract the effect of the Earth’s crust movements. This ability is fundamental in certain regions of the globe, where earthquakes are more frequent, and can be achieved using different strategies. State-of-the-art anti-seismic buildings have, embedded on their structure, mostly passive actuators such as base isolation, Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) and viscous dampers that can be used to reduce the effect of seismic or even wind induced vibrations. The main disadvantage of this type of building vibration reduction strategies concerns their inability to adapt their properties in accordance to both the excitation signal or structural behaviour. This adaption capability can be promoted by adding to the building active type actuators operating under a closed-loop. However, these systems are substantially larger than passive type solutions and require a considerable amount of energy that may not be available during a severe earthquake due to power grid failure. An intermediate solution between these two extremes is the introduction of semi-active actuators such as magneto–rheological dampers. The inclusion of magneto–rheological actuators is among one of the most promising semi-active techniques. However, the overall performance of this strategy depends on several aspects such as the actuators number and location within the structure and the vibration sensors network. It can be the case where the installation leads to a non-collocated system which presents additional challenges to control. This paper proposes to tackle the problem of controlling the vibration of a non-collocated three-storey building by means of a brain–emotional controller tuned using an evolutionary algorithm. This controller will be used to adjust the stiffness coefficient of a magneto–rheological actuator such that the building’s frame oscillation under earthquake excitation, is mitigated. The obtained results suggest that, using this control strategy, it is possible to reduce the building vibration to secure levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Electromechanical Actuation for Morphing Winglets
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020042
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 3 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
As a key enabler for future aviation technology, the use of servo electromechanical actuation offers new opportunities to transition innovative structural concepts, such as biomimicry morphing structures, from basic research to new commercial aircraft applications. In this paper, the authors address actuator integration [...] Read more.
As a key enabler for future aviation technology, the use of servo electromechanical actuation offers new opportunities to transition innovative structural concepts, such as biomimicry morphing structures, from basic research to new commercial aircraft applications. In this paper, the authors address actuator integration aspects of a wing shape-changing flight surface capable of adaptively enhancing aircraft aerodynamic performance and reducing critical wing structural loads. The research was collocated within the Clean Sky 2 Regional Aircraft Demonstration Platform (IADP) and aimed at developing an adaptive winglet concept for green regional aircraft. Finite Element-based tools were employed for the structural design of the adaptive device characterized by two independent movable tabs completely integrated with a linear direct-drive actuation. The structural design process was addressed in compliance with the airworthiness needs posed by the implementation of regional airplanes. Such a load control system requires very demanding actuation performance and sufficient operational reliability to operate on the applicable flight load envelope. These requirements were met by a very compact direct-drive actuator design in which the ball recirculation device was integrated within the screw shaft. Focus was also given to the power-off electric brake necessary to block the structure in a certain position and dynamically brake the moveable surface to follow a certain command position during operation. Both the winglet layout static and dynamic robustness were verified by means of linear stress computations at the most critical conditions and normal mode analyses, respectively, with and without including the integrated actuator system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Space Vector Modulation Strategies for Self-Sensing Three-Phase Radial Active Magnetic Bearings
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020041
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
Viewed by 468 | PDF Full-text (3782 KB)
Abstract
The focus of this study lies on the investigation of the space vector modulation of a self-sensing three-phase radial active magnetic bearing. The determination of the rotor position information is performed by a current slope-based inductance measurement of the actuator coils. Therefore, a [...] Read more.
The focus of this study lies on the investigation of the space vector modulation of a self-sensing three-phase radial active magnetic bearing. The determination of the rotor position information is performed by a current slope-based inductance measurement of the actuator coils. Therefore, a special pulse width modulation sequence is applied to the actuator coils by a conventional three-phase inverter. The choice of the modulation type is not unique and provides degrees of freedom for different modulation patterns, which are described in this work. For a self-sensing operation of the bearing, certain constraints of the space vector modulation must be considered. The approach of a variable space vector modulation is investigated to ensure sufficient dynamic in the current control as well as the suitability for a self-sensing operation with an accurate rotor position acquisition. Therefore, different space vector modulation strategies are considered in theory as well as proven in experiments on a radial magnetic bearing prototype. Finally, the performance of the self-sensing space vector modulation method is verified by an external position measurement system. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Soft Master-Slave Robot Mimicking Octopus Arm Structure Using Thin Artificial Muscles and Wire Encoders
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020040
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
An octopus arm with a flexible structure and no rigid skeleton shows a high degree of freedom and flexibility. These excellent features are suitable for working in an environment having fragile and unknown-shaped objects. Therefore, a soft robot arm resembling an octopus arm [...] Read more.
An octopus arm with a flexible structure and no rigid skeleton shows a high degree of freedom and flexibility. These excellent features are suitable for working in an environment having fragile and unknown-shaped objects. Therefore, a soft robot arm resembling an octopus arm can be useful as a harvesting machine without damaging crops in the agricultural field, as a rehabilitation apparatus in the welfare field, as a safe surgery tool in the medical field, and so on. Unlike industrial robots, to consider the applications of the soft robot arm, the instructions for it relating to a task cannot in many cases be given as a numerical value, and the motion according to an operator’s sense and intent is useful. This paper describes the design and feedback control of a soft master-slave robot system. The system is configured with two soft rubber machines; one is a slave machine that is the soft robot arm mimicking the muscle arrangement of the octopus arm by pneumatic artificial muscles, and the other is a master machine that gives the target motion to the slave machine. Both are configured with soft materials. The slave machine has an actuating part and a sensing part, it can perform bending and torsional motions, and these motions are estimated by the sensing part with threads that connect to wire encoders. The master machine is almost the same configuration, but it has no actuating part. The slave machine is driven according to the deformation of the master machine. We confirmed experimentally that the slave machine followed the master machine that was deformed by an operator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Materials and Designs for Soft Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Optimization of an Indirect Coil Gun for Launching Non-Magnetic Projectiles
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020039
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
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Abstract
This article focuses on indirect coil guns used for launching non-magnetic objects. A mechatronic model, coupling electrical, mechanical, and electromagnetic models, is proposed. This model is applied to the optimization of a kicking system used on limited size robots for propelling real soccer [...] Read more.
This article focuses on indirect coil guns used for launching non-magnetic objects. A mechatronic model, coupling electrical, mechanical, and electromagnetic models, is proposed. This model is applied to the optimization of a kicking system used on limited size robots for propelling real soccer balls at the RoboCup. Working with an existing coil gun, we show that fine tuning its setup, especially the initial position and the length of the non-magnetic plunger extension, leads to an increase in the ball speed of 30 % compared to previous results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shape Memory Activated Self-Deployable Solar Sails: Small-Scale Prototypes Manufacturing and Planarity Analysis by 3D Laser Scanner
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020038
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 3 May 2019
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Abstract
Solar sails are propellantless systems where the propulsive force is given by the momentum exchange of reflecting photons. Thanks to the use of shape memory alloys for the self-actuation of the system, complexity of the structure itself has decreased and so has the [...] Read more.
Solar sails are propellantless systems where the propulsive force is given by the momentum exchange of reflecting photons. Thanks to the use of shape memory alloys for the self-actuation of the system, complexity of the structure itself has decreased and so has the weight of the whole structure. Four self-deploying systems based on the NiTi shape memory wires have been designed and manufactured in different configurations (wires disposal and folding number). The deployed solar sails surfaces have been acquired by a Nextengine 3D Laser Scanner based on the Multistripe Triangulation. 3D maps have been pre-processed through Geomagic Studio and then elaborated in the Wolfram Mathematica environment. The planarity degree has been evaluated as level curves from the regression plane highlighting marked differences between the four configurations and locating the vertices as the most critical zones. These results are useful in the optimization of the best folding solution both in the weight/surface reduction and in the planarity degree of the solar sail. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Behavior of a Magnetically Levitated Spindle for Fatigue Testing of Fiber Reinforced Plastic
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020037
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 3 May 2019
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Abstract
This article discusses the critical thermal behavior of a magnetically levitated spindle for fatigue testing of cylinders made of fiber reinforced plastic. These cylinders represent the outer-rotor of a kinetic energy storage. The system operates under vacuum conditions. Hence, even small power losses [...] Read more.
This article discusses the critical thermal behavior of a magnetically levitated spindle for fatigue testing of cylinders made of fiber reinforced plastic. These cylinders represent the outer-rotor of a kinetic energy storage. The system operates under vacuum conditions. Hence, even small power losses in the rotor can lead to a high rotor temperature. To find the most effective way to keep the rotor temperature under a critical limit in the existing system, first, transient electromagnetic finite element simulations are evaluated for the active magnetic bearings and the electric machine. Using these simulations, the power losses of the active components in the rotor can be derived. Second, a finite element simulation characterizes the thermal behavior of the rotor. Using the power losses calculated in the electromagnetic simulation, the thermal simulation provides the temperature of the rotor. These results are compared with measurements from an experimental spindle. One effective way to reduce rotational losses without major changes in the hardware is to reduce the bias current of the magnetic bearings. Since this also changes the characteristics of the magnetic bearings, the dynamic behavior of the rotor is also considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stochastic Effects on the Dynamics of the Resonant Structure of a Lorentz Force MEMS Magnetometer
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020036
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 25 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
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Abstract
Resonance features of slender mechanical parts of Lorentz force MEMS magnetometers are affected by the (weakly) coupled thermo-electro-magneto-mechanical multi-physics governing their dynamics. We recently showed that reduced-order models for such parts can be written in the form of the Duffing equation, whose nonlinear [...] Read more.
Resonance features of slender mechanical parts of Lorentz force MEMS magnetometers are affected by the (weakly) coupled thermo-electro-magneto-mechanical multi-physics governing their dynamics. We recently showed that reduced-order models for such parts can be written in the form of the Duffing equation, whose nonlinear term stems from the mechanical constraint on the vibrations and is affected by the driving voltage. As some device performance indices vary proportionally to the amplitude of oscillations at resonance, an optimization of the operational conditions may lead to extremely slender, imperfection-sensitive movable structures. In this work, we investigate the effects of imperfections on the mechanical response of a single-axis magnetometer. At the microscopic length-scale, imperfections are given in terms of uncertainties in the values of the over-etch depth and of the Young’s modulus of the vibrating polycrystalline silicon film. Their effects on the nonlinear structural dynamics are investigated through a Monte Carlo analysis, to show how the output of real devices can be scattered around the reference response trend. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Active Vehicle Suspension Control Approach with Electromagnetic and Hydraulic Actuators
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020035
Received: 24 February 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 21 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
An active vibration control approach from an online estimation perspective of unavailable feedback signals for a quarter-vehicle suspension system is introduced. The application of a new signal differentiation technique for the online estimation of disturbance trajectories due to irregular road surfaces and velocity [...] Read more.
An active vibration control approach from an online estimation perspective of unavailable feedback signals for a quarter-vehicle suspension system is introduced. The application of a new signal differentiation technique for the online estimation of disturbance trajectories due to irregular road surfaces and velocity state variables is described. It is assumed that position measurements are only available for active disturbance suppression control implementation. Real-time signal differentiation is independent of detailed mathematical models of specific dynamic systems and control force generation mechanisms. Active control forces can be supplied by electromagnetic or hydraulic actuators. Analytical and simulation results prove the effective and fast dynamic performance of the online signal estimation as well as a satisfactory active disturbance attenuation on a quarter-vehicle active suspension system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic Bearing Actuators)
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Open AccessCommunication
Variable Preloading Force in an Archetypal Oscillator
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020034
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 20 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, the influence of the time variable preloading force on the vibration of an archetypal oscillator is investigated. The oscillator is modeled as a slider-string system which is mathematically described with a second order nonlinear differential equation with time variable parameters. [...] Read more.
In this paper, the influence of the time variable preloading force on the vibration of an archetypal oscillator is investigated. The oscillator is modeled as a slider-string system which is mathematically described with a second order nonlinear differential equation with time variable parameters. An approximate procedure for solving the equation is introduced. It is based on the exact solution of the pure nonlinear equation in the form of the Ateb function. The obtained result gives the vibration amplitude and phase variation of the oscillator depending on the preloading force variation. Based on this result, the procedure for regulation of the preloading force as the function of the required vibration amplitude decrease is developed. It is concluded that the preloading force may be used as a control parameter of the oscillator. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Analysis of a 1D Actively Stabilized System with Viscoelastic Damping Support
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020033
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
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Abstract
Passively magnetically stabilized degrees of freedom yield the benefit of reduced complexity and therefore costs. However, the application of passive magnetic bearings (PMBs) also features some drawbacks. The poor damping capability leads to exaggerated deflection amplitudes when passing the resonance speeds of the [...] Read more.
Passively magnetically stabilized degrees of freedom yield the benefit of reduced complexity and therefore costs. However, the application of passive magnetic bearings (PMBs) also features some drawbacks. The poor damping capability leads to exaggerated deflection amplitudes when passing the resonance speeds of the applied system. This results in the necessity of external damping. Complying with the goal of costs and complexity, viscoelastic materials offer a suitable solution. However, these materials show high frequency and temperature dependent properties which induce the necessity of a proper model. Thus, the design of systems, as presented in this paper, requires accurate modeling of the dynamic behavior including the nonlinear characteristic of damping elements to predict the system displacements. In the investigated setup only two degrees of freedom remain to be controlled actively. These are the axial rotation and the axial position of the rotor which are controlled by the motor and an active magnetic axial bearing (AMB). This article focuses on the rotor dynamic modeling of a radial passively magnetically stabilized system especially considering the nonlinear behavior of viscoelastic damping elements. Finally, the results from the analytic model are verified by measurements on a manufactures test system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and System Integration for a Thin Pneumatic Rubber 3-DOF Actuator
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020032
Received: 14 February 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract
Recently, soft actuators have been getting increased attention within various fields. The actuators are composed of flexible materials and driven by pneumatic pressure. A thin pneumatic rubber actuator generating 3 degrees of freedom motion, called 3-DOF micro-hand, has small diameter McKibben artificial muscles [...] Read more.
Recently, soft actuators have been getting increased attention within various fields. The actuators are composed of flexible materials and driven by pneumatic pressure. A thin pneumatic rubber actuator generating 3 degrees of freedom motion, called 3-DOF micro-hand, has small diameter McKibben artificial muscles which generate a contraction force in the axial direction. By this structure, the micro-hand contracts in the longitudinal direction and bends in any direction by changing the applied air pressure pattern to the artificial muscles. The input–output relation of the micro-hand, however, is complicated and has not been modeled. In this paper, modeling for 3-DOF micro-hand is proposed. Moreover, the experimental system is built for the micro-hand and the proposed model is evaluated by using the experimental results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Enhancement of a Magnetic System in a Ultra Compact 5-DOF-Controlled Self-Bearing Motor for a Rotary Pediatric Ventricular-Assist Device to Diminish Energy Input
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020031
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 13 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
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Abstract
Research interests of compact magnetically levitated motors have been strongly increased in development of durable and biocompatible mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices for pediatric heart disease patients. In this study, an ultra-compact axial gap type self-bearing motor with 5-degrees of freedom (DOF) active [...] Read more.
Research interests of compact magnetically levitated motors have been strongly increased in development of durable and biocompatible mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices for pediatric heart disease patients. In this study, an ultra-compact axial gap type self-bearing motor with 5-degrees of freedom (DOF) active control for use in pediatric MCS devices has been developed. The motor consists of two identical motor stators and a centrifugal levitated rotor. This paper investigated a design improvement of the magnetic circuit for the self-bearing motor undergoing development in order to diminish energy input by enhancing magnetic suspension and rotation performances. Geometries of the motor were refined based on numerical calculation and three-dimensional (3D) magnetic field analysis. The modified motor can achieve higher suspension force and torque characteristics than that of a previously developed prototype motor. Oscillation of the levitated rotor was significantly suppressed by 5-DOF control over rotating speeds up to 7000 rpm with lower energy input, indicating efficacy of the design refinement of the motor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Insect Muscular Tissue-Powered Swimming Robot
Actuators 2019, 8(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/act8020030
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 2 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
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Abstract
Bio-actuators that use insect muscular tissue have attracted attention from researchers worldwide because of their small size, self-motive property, self-repairer ability, robustness, and the need for less environment management than mammalian cells. To demonstrate the potential of insect muscular tissue for use as [...] Read more.
Bio-actuators that use insect muscular tissue have attracted attention from researchers worldwide because of their small size, self-motive property, self-repairer ability, robustness, and the need for less environment management than mammalian cells. To demonstrate the potential of insect muscular tissue for use as bio-actuators, three types of these robots, a pillar actuator, a walker, and a twizzer, have been designed and fabricated. However, a model of an insect muscular tissue-powered swimming robot that is able to float and swim in a solution has not yet been reported. Therefore, in this paper, we present a prototype of an insect muscular tissue-powered autonomous micro swimming robot that operates at room temperature and requires no temperature and pH maintenance. To design a practical robot body that is capable of swimming by using the force of the insect dorsal vessel (DV), we first measured the contraction force of the DV. Then, the body of the swimming robot was designed, and the design was confirmed by a simulation that used the condition of measured contraction force. After that, we fabricated the robot body using polydimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS). The PDMS body was obtained from a mold that was fabricated by a stereo lithography method. Finally, we carefully attached the DV to the PDMS body to complete the assembly of the swimming robot. As a result, we confirmed the micro swimming robot swam autonomously at an average velocity of 11.7 μm/s using spontaneous contractions of the complete insect DV tissue. These results demonstrated that the insect DV has potential for use as a bio-actuator for floating and swimming in solution. Full article
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Actuators EISSN 2076-0825 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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