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22 March 2019 Inflatable dielectric elastomer robots for space
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Dielectric Elastomer Transducers (DETs) integrated into inflatable structures can form the basis for soft, low mass robots. Such robots will have very high packaging efficiency and be simple to deploy. These attributes, combined with the high power density of DETs make them ideal for space robots. In this paper we present a study of different motions achieved from the actuation of three distinct simple experimental designs. Firstly, the dome actuator constructed from a sheet of silicone rubber with segmented electrodes. Secondly, an elongation of the former, capable of producing locomotory motion from phased actuation of segments. Finally, a rolled cylindrical design varying the seam geometry, and electrode position and composition to produce different resonant and non-resonant motion. This study is comprised of experimental results, and finite element modelling of each design using commercially available FEM software. The different structures are simulated undergoing inflation and actuation, and the results compared to experimental data. Modal analyses of the inflated cylindrical structures are also compared with the frequency responses of the experimental models. Extrapolation of these basic units to more complex structures, designed to complement or replace existing space equipment, is presented for discussion alongside the remaining challenges.
Conference Presentation
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Joseph Ashby, Samuel Rosset, E.-F. Markus Henke, and Iain Anderson "Inflatable dielectric elastomer robots for space", Proc. SPIE 10966, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI, 109661L (22 March 2019);

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