The important required characteristics of an artificial muscle for a human arm-like manipulator are high strain and high power density. From this viewpoint, an SMA (shape memory alloy) spring is a good candidate for the actuator of a robotic manipulator that utilizes an artificial muscle. In this study, the maximum power density of an SMA spring was evaluated with respect to the input power. The spring samples were fabricated from SMA wires of different diameters ranging between 0.1 and 0.3 mm. For each diameter, two types of wires with different transition temperatures were used. The relationship between the transition temperature and maximum power density was also evaluated. Each SMA spring was stretched downward by an attached weight and the temperature was increased through the application of an electric current. The displacement, velocity, and temperature of the SMA spring were measured by laser displacement sensors and a thermocouple. Based on the experimental data, it was determined that the maximum power densities of the different SMA springs ranged between 1,300 and 5,500 W/kg. This confirmed the applicability of an SMA spring to human arm-like robotic manipulators. The results of this study can be used as reference for design.
Cheol Hoon Park, Sang Yong Ham, and Young Su Son, "Relationship between input power and power density of SMA spring," Proc. SPIE 9799, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016, 97990R (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 22, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218475.
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