Akin to the natural tissues, soft artificial muscles possess a life cycle limited by aging and degradation phenomena. Here, we propose a rejuvenation method aimed at silicone-ethanol soft composite actuators, in which ethanol escape occurs during prolonged actuation, thus compromising their performance. The rejuvenation is achieved by immersion of the material-actuator in ethanol, allowing its diffusion into the silicone-based material until saturation. Repeatable rejuvenation of a soft robot, based on the soft material-actuator, resulted in retention of up to 100% of its functionality. Thus, we suggest that this method may be used for the rejuvenation of soft artificial muscles and material-actuators.
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We wish to acknowledge the help of the Columbia University Preclinical Molecular Imaging Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Lynne Johnson and specifically the technical assistance of Mr. Jordan M. Johnson in performing the micro-CTs. We thank Mr. Artur Autz of the Department of Bio-Medical Engineering at Columbia University for providing the mechanical testing equipment. This work was supported in part by the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) Grant number 4440729085 for Soft Robotics. AM acknowledges support from the Columbia University funds.
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Miriyev, A., Trujillo, C., Caires, G. et al. Rejuvenation of soft material-actuator. MRS Communications 8, 556–561 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1557/mrc.2018.30