Transient characteristics of a straight tube actuated by viscous compressible flow with consideration of large axisymmetric deformation
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Advancements in soft materials and advantages brought by unlimited degrees of freedom have led to the wide acceptance of soft robotics in medical and military fields. Gas actuation has been widely adopted in soft robotics due to its low gas viscosity, high power density, and rapid response capability. Many researchers have developed kinematic models to investigate its free-form deformation. Nevertheless, serious challenges still remain. These challenges are related to the transient characteristics of a gas actuator subjected to inner fluid and external force. This paper presents a numerical study on the transient characteristics of a straight tube actuated with viscous compressible flow by taking compressibility of gas and large deformation of the tube wall into account. The equation governing compressible flow is coupled with equations governing wall elasticity deformation to generate an integrodifferential equation. The equation is solved with finite difference and Newton–Raphson methods to obtain the transient properties. The effect of fluid and structure parameters on the transient properties under sudden inlet pressure and external force is investigated. Predictions show that the propagation speed with the consideration of large tube deformation is larger than that without the consideration of large tube deformation. In addition, the propagation speed of pressure decreases as the tube wall thickness increases, while the radial impact and axial compression on tube help in the propagation speed of fluid pressure. These findings can lead to improved applications of gas actuation in soft robotics.
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