Programmable soft robotics based on nano-textured thermo-responsive actuators

Dong Jin Kang, Seongpil An, Alexander Yarin, Sushant Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Soft robotic systems are increasingly emerging as robust alternatives to conventional robotics. Here, we demonstrate the development of programmable soft actuators based on volume expansion/retraction accompanying liquid-vapor phase transition of a phase-change material confined within an elastomer matrix. The combination of a soft matrix (a silicone-based elastomer) and an embedded ethanol-impregnated polyacrylonitrile nanofiber (PAN NF) mat makes it possible to form a sealed compound device that can be operated by changing the actuator temperature above/below the boiling point of ethanol. The thermo-responsive actuators based on this principle demonstrate excellent bending ability at a sufficiently high temperature (>90 °C)-comparable with compressed air-based soft actuators. The actuator using the mechanism presented here is easy to manufacture and automate and is recyclable. Finally, the actuation mechanism can be incorporated into a wide variety of shapes and configurations, making it possible to obtain tunable and programmable soft robots that could have a wide variety of industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2065-2070
Number of pages6
JournalNanoscale
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 28
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Robotics
Actuators
Elastomers
Ethanol
Phase change materials
Polyacrylonitriles
Boiling point
Compressed air
Silicones
Nanofibers
Industrial applications
Phase transitions
Vapors
Robots
Temperature
Liquids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Programmable soft robotics based on nano-textured thermo-responsive actuators. / Kang, Dong Jin; An, Seongpil; Yarin, Alexander; Anand, Sushant.

In: Nanoscale, Vol. 11, No. 4, 28.01.2019, p. 2065-2070.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kang, DJ, An, S, Yarin, A & Anand, S 2019, 'Programmable soft robotics based on nano-textured thermo-responsive actuators', Nanoscale, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 2065-2070. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8nr08215d
Kang, Dong Jin ; An, Seongpil ; Yarin, Alexander ; Anand, Sushant. / Programmable soft robotics based on nano-textured thermo-responsive actuators. In: Nanoscale. 2019 ; Vol. 11, No. 4. pp. 2065-2070.
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