This study examines the bonding force between Nitinol wire and silicone polymer. The purpose is to understand the feasibility and limitations of using nitinol wire as an actuator in artificial skin. This study improves upon previous work, which studied silicone embedded nitinol and expands its scope by looking deeper into the wire/polymer configuration, and manufacturing process which can lead to air bubbles at the wire/silicone interface. Prior results were less consistent due to the presence of tiny bubbles in samples, which lead to variable maximum pulling forces between tests. This study addresses this issue, and improves the manufacturing process, so that the capacity of the bonding between wires and polymers can be increased.This is accomplished by using an injection molding method preceded by a vacuum stage.When samples are manufactured and tested with the improved method there is a significant improvement in the strength and consistency of results. A maximum pull force improvement of 32% was seen in the vacuum prepared samples. This lays the foundation for developing computer simulations of the artificial skin using experimentally verified data. Future work will continue to address the manufacturing process, material variants, as well as checking the effect of different wire diameters and materials. All this data will go into developing a predictive numerical model using commercial finite element analysis software, which will assist in the creation of more complex shapes of controllable artificial skin. These complex wire/polymer configurations will be used to address current biomedical issues, such as facial paralysis, and assisting burn victims, or in humanoid robotics.
Paul Mazza, Michael Milenski, Anthony D. Santamaria, and Moochul Shin, "Characterizing nitinol wire bond strength in silicone for artificial skin muscles ," Proc. SPIE 10593, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication VIII, 1059310 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 07, 2018; Published: 27 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2300861.
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