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Propulsion-Based Soft Robotic Actuation
Article

A Structural Optimisation Method for a Soft Pneumatic Actuator

by 1, 1,2, 1 and 1,2,*
1
School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering, University of Wollongong, Wollongong 2522 NSW, Australia
2
ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, University of Wollongong, Wollongong 2522 NSW, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Robotics 2018, 7(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7020024
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
This study aims to investigate the effects of various design parameters on the actuation performance of a pneumatic network actuator (PNA), optimise its structure using the finite element method (FEM), and subsequently quantify the performance of the resulting actuator topology experimentally. The effects of the structural parameters, including the operation pressure, the wall thickness and the gap between the chambers, bottom layer thickness, and the geometry of the channel cross section, on the deformation and bending angle of the actuator were evaluated to optimise the performance of the pneumatic actuator. A Global Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed to investigate how the variables affect the mechanical output of the actuator and, thus, the significance of variables affecting the deformation (and bending angle) of the pneumatic actuator was identified. After the parameter optimisation, a pneumatic channel with a 4.5 mm bottom layer thickness, 1.5 mm wall thickness, and 1.5 mm gap between sequential chambers is recommended to perform optimised bending motion for the pneumatic network actuator. The optimised FE model results were verified experimentally. This design optimisation method based on the FEM and ANOVA analysis can be extended to the topology optimisation of other soft actuators. View Full-Text
Keywords: pneumatic actuators; soft robotics; FEM; simulation; design optimisation pneumatic actuators; soft robotics; FEM; simulation; design optimisation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hu, W.; Mutlu, R.; Li, W.; Alici, G. A Structural Optimisation Method for a Soft Pneumatic Actuator. Robotics 2018, 7, 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7020024

AMA Style

Hu W, Mutlu R, Li W, Alici G. A Structural Optimisation Method for a Soft Pneumatic Actuator. Robotics. 2018; 7(2):24. https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7020024

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hu, Weiping, Rahim Mutlu, Weihua Li, and Gursel Alici. 2018. "A Structural Optimisation Method for a Soft Pneumatic Actuator" Robotics 7, no. 2: 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics7020024

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