A thin membrane artificial muscle rotary motor

Iain A. Anderson, Thom Hale, Todd Gisby, Tokushu Inamura, Thomas McKay, Benjamin O'Brien, Scott Walbran, Emilio P. Calius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Desirable rotary motor attributes for robotics include the ability to develop high torque in a low mass body and to generate peak power at low rotational speeds. Electro-active polymer artificial muscles offer promise as actuator elements for robotic motors. A promising artificial muscle technology for use as a driving mechanism for rotary motion is the dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA). We present a membrane DEA motor in which phased actuation of electroded sectors of the motor membrane impart orbital motion to a central drive that turns a rotor. The motor is inherently scalable, flexible, flat, silent in operation, amenable to deposition-based manufacturing approaches, and uses relatively inexpensive materials. As a membrane it can also form part of the skin of a robot. We have investigated the torque and power of stacked membrane layers. Specific power and torque ratios when calculated∈ using∈active∈membrane∈mass∈only∈were∈20.8 W/kg and 4.1 Nm/kg, respectively. These numbers compare favorably with a commercially available stepper motor. Multi-membrane fabrication substantially boosts torque and power and increases the active mass of membrane relative to supporting framework. Through finite element modeling, we show the mechanisms governing the maximum torque the device can generate and how the motor can be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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    Anderson, I. A., Hale, T., Gisby, T., Inamura, T., McKay, T., O'Brien, B., Walbran, S., & Calius, E. P. (2010). A thin membrane artificial muscle rotary motor. Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing, 98(1), 75-83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00339-009-5434-5