Additive Manufacture of Composite Soft Pneumatic Actuators

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Title: Additive Manufacture of Composite Soft Pneumatic Actuators
Authors: Byrne, Oisín
Coulter, Fergal
Glynn, Mark
Jones, James F. X.
Ní Annaidh, Aisling
O'Cearbhaill, Eoin D.
Holland, Dónal P
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Date: 7-Dec-2018 2018-12-17T14:52:50Z
Abstract: This article presents a direct additive manufacturing method for composite material soft pneumatic actuators that are capable of performing a range of programmable motions. Commonly, molding is the method used to manufacture soft fluidic actuators. This is material, labor, and time intensive and lacks the design freedom to produce custom actuators efficiently. This article proposes an alternative semiautomated method of designing and manufacturing composite soft actuators. An affordable, open-source, desktop three-dimensional (3D) printer was modified into a four-axis, combined, fused deposition modeling, and paste extrusion printer. A Grasshopper 3D algorithm was devised to implement custom actuator designs according to user inputs, resulting in a G-code print file. Bending, contracting, and twisting motion actuators were parametrically designed and subsequently additively manufactured from silicone and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) materials. Experimental testing was completed on these actuators along with their constitutive materials. Finite element models were created to simulate the actuator's kinematic performance. Having a platform method to digitally configure and directly additively manufacture custom-motion, composite soft actuators has the potential to accelerate the development of more intricate designs and lead to potential impacts in a range of areas, including in-clinic personalization of soft assistive devices and patient-specific biomedical devices.
Funding Details: European Commission - European Regional Development Fund
Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
Journal: Soft Robotics
Volume: 5
Issue: 6
Copyright (published version): 2018 Mary Ann Liebert
Keywords: Soft pneumatic actuatorsComposite material actuatorsAdditive manufacturingSoft robotics
DOI: 10.1089/soro.2018.0030
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection
Medicine Research Collection

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