Characterization of Soft Actuation Through Ultrasonic Atomization
- 461 Downloads
Most biological systems fully take advantage of their soft tissues by quickly reacting and interacting with the environment. This exceptional performance is possible due to flexible muscles that can bend and contract in multiple degrees-of-freedom. Since traditional robots with rigid components cannot mimic these movements, soft robotic systems fabricated from flexible elastomers are starting to receive much attention. Similarly, developing actuation techniques that can control the movement of these soft materials in multiple degrees-of-freedom is also crucial. This study proposes a new soft actuation mechanism through the use of ultrasonic atomization and small piezoelectric transducers. Unlike conventional pneumatic-based systems, this soft structure is completely untethered, which can be actuated by simply placing it above an ultrasonic transducer. First, a hollow structure was fabricated by pouring uncured elastomer into a 3D-printed mold. Second, the structure was partially filled with a small amount of liquid and placed above a piezoelectric disc. Then, exciting the transducer generated ultrasonic waves that propagated through the wall of the structure. When the amplitude of the ultrasonic wave was high enough, the liquid inside the structure was atomized and ejected small droplets inside the closed, soft chamber. These droplets rapidly evaporated and deformed the soft structure. In this work, the experimental results were compared with finite element modeling to characterize the ultrasonic-atomization-induced soft structure actuation.
KeywordsPhase transformation Simulation Soft robotics Ultrasonic atomization
This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation under grant no. CMMI-1762530. The authors acknowledge Prof. H. Alicia Kim and her research group for their collaboration. Additional support was provided by the Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California-San Diego.
- 1.Cooper KM, Hanlon RT, Budelmann BU (1990) Physiological color-change in squid iridophores. Ultrastructural mechanisms in lolliguncula-brevis. Cell Tissue Res 259(1):15–24Google Scholar
- 2.Shadwick RE, Gosline JM (1985) Mechanical-properties of the octopus aorta. J Exp Biol 114:259–284Google Scholar
- 4.Margheri L, Laschi C, Mazzolai B (2012) Soft robotic arm inspired by the octopus: I. From biological functions to artificial requirements. Bioinspir Biomim 7(2):025004Google Scholar