skip to main content

Title: Dynamic Simulation-Guided Design of Tumbling Magnetic Microrobots
Abstract The design of robots at the small scale is a trial-and-error based process, which is costly and time-consuming. There are few dynamic simulation tools available to accurately predict the motion or performance of untethered microrobots as they move over a substrate. At smaller length scales, the influence of adhesion and friction, which scales with surface area, becomes more pronounced. Thus, rigid body dynamic simulators, which implicitly assume that contact between two bodies can be modeled as point contact, are not suitable. In this paper, we present techniques for simulating the motion of microrobots where there can be intermittent and non-point contact between the robot and the substrate. We use these techniques to study the motion of tumbling microrobots of different shapes and select shapes that are optimal for improving locomotion performance. Simulation results are verified using experimental data on linear velocity, maximum climbable incline angle, and microrobot trajectory. Microrobots with improved geometry were fabricated, but limitations in the fabrication process resulted in unexpected manufacturing errors and material/size scale adjustments. The developed simulation model can incorporate these limitations and emulate their effect on the microrobot’s motion, reproducing the experimental behavior of the tumbling microrobots, further showcasing the effectiveness of having more » such a dynamic model. « less
 ;  ;  ;  
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Planning locomotion trajectories for legged microrobots is challenging. This is because of their complex morphology, high frequency passive dynamics, and discontinuous contact interactions with their environment. Consequently, such research is often driven by time-consuming experimental methods. As an alternative, we present a framework for systematically modeling, planning, and controlling legged microrobots. We develop a three- dimensional dynamic model of a 1.5 g quadrupedal microrobot with complexity (e.g., number of degrees of freedom) similar to larger-scale legged robots. We then adapt a recently developed variational contact-implicit trajectory optimization method to generate feasible whole-body locomotion plans for this microrobot, and demonstrate that these plans can be tracked with simple joint-space controllers. We plan and execute periodic gaits at multiple stride frequencies and on various surfaces. These gaits achieve high per-cycle velocities, including a maximum of 10.87 mm/cycle, which is 15% faster than previously measured for this microrobot. Furthermore, we plan and execute a vertical jump of 9.96 mm, which is 78% of the microrobot’s center-of- mass height. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first end-to-end demonstration of planning and tracking whole-body dynamic locomotion on a millimeter-scale legged microrobot.
  2. This work investigates three-dimensional simulation of fused filament fabrication using the Cross-WLF model for the non-isothermal and shear thinning behavior of the melt. To realistically simulate the deposition flow, the acceleration, viscosity evolution, and flow front tracking models have been included with the pressure gradient in the deposited road and boundary modeling of the melt and air interface. The results indicate that the non-isothermal and shear thinning behaviors greatly affect the geometry of the deposited roads including the flow front and trailing cross-section shapes. The thermal footprint of the interface between the deposited melt and the substrate is also predicted as a function of the thermal contact conductance. The pressure distribution within the deposited road is also modeled and is found to be not symmetric with respect to the nozzle center-line. Rather, the pressure peak shifts slightly downstream due to redirection of the melt around a stagnation point opposite the nozzle exit. Furthermore, a negative stress is observed downstream the exterior nozzle face associated with the free expansion of the melt as the extruded material climbs and releases from the exterior nozzle face. The developed simulation is verified by comparison with experimental results providing contact pressures ranging from 5 tomore »132 kPa.« less
  3. Hydrodynamic interactions generate a diffusive motion in particulates in a shear flow, which plays seminal roles in overall particulate rheology and its microstructure. Here we investigate the shear induced diffusion in a red-blood cell (RBC) suspension using a numerical simulation resolving individual motion and deformation of RBCs. The non-spherical resting shape of RBCs gives rise to qualitatively different regimes of cell dynamics in a shear flow such as tank-treading, breathing, tumbling and swinging, depending on the cell flexibility determined by the elastic capillary number. We show that the transition from tumbling to tank-treading causes a reduction in the gradient diffusivity. The diffusivity is computed using a continuum approach from the evolution of a randomly packed cell-layer width with time as well as by the dynamic structure factor of the suspension. Both approaches, although operationally different, match and show that for intermediate capillary numbers RBCs cease tumbling accompanied by a drop in the coefficient of gradient diffusivity. A further increase of capillary number increases the diffusivity due to increased deformation. The effects of bending modulus and viscosity ratio variations are also briefly investigated. The computed shear induced diffusivity was compared with values in the literature. Apart from its effects in marginationmore »of cells in blood flow and use in medical diagnostics, the phenomenon broadly offers important insights into suspensions of deformable particles with non-spherical equilibrium shapes, which also could play a critical role in using particle flexibility for applications such as label free separation or material processing.« less
  4. Context. Inferences about dark matter, dark energy, and the missing baryons all depend on the accuracy of our model of large-scale structure evolution. In particular, with cosmological simulations in our model of the Universe, we trace the growth of structure, and visualize the build-up of bigger structures from smaller ones and of gaseous filaments connecting galaxy clusters. Aims. Here we aim to reveal the complexity of the large-scale structure assembly process in great detail and on scales from tens of kiloparsecs up to more than 10 Mpc with new sensitive large-scale observations from the latest generation of instruments. We also aim to compare our findings with expectations from our cosmological model. Methods. We used dedicated SRG/eROSITA performance verification (PV) X-ray, ASKAP/EMU Early Science radio, and DECam optical observations of a ~15 deg 2 region around the nearby interacting galaxy cluster system A3391/95 to study the warm-hot gas in cluster outskirts and filaments, the surrounding large-scale structure and its formation process, the morphological complexity in the inner parts of the clusters, and the (re-)acceleration of plasma. We also used complementary Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect data from the Planck survey and custom-made Galactic total (neutral plus molecular) hydrogen column density maps based onmore »the HI4PI and IRAS surveys. We relate the observations to expectations from cosmological hydrodynamic simulations from the Magneticum suite. Results. We trace the irregular morphology of warm and hot gas of the main clusters from their centers out to well beyond their characteristic radii, r 200 . Between the two main cluster systems, we observe an emission bridge on large scale and with good spatial resolution. This bridge includes a known galaxy group but this can only partially explain the emission. Most gas in the bridge appears hot, but thanks to eROSITA’s unique soft response and large field of view, we discover some tantalizing hints for warm, truly primordial filamentary gas connecting the clusters. Several matter clumps physically surrounding the system are detected. For the “Northern Clump,” we provide evidence that it is falling towards A3391 from the X-ray hot gas morphology and radio lobe structure of its central AGN. Moreover, the shapes of these X-ray and radio structures appear to be formed by gas well beyond the virial radius, r 100 , of A3391, thereby providing an indirect way of probing the gas in this elusive environment. Many of the extended sources in the field detected by eROSITA are also known clusters or new clusters in the background, including a known SZ cluster at redshift z = 1. We find roughly an order of magnitude more cluster candidates than the SPT and ACT surveys together in the same area. We discover an emission filament north of the virial radius of A3391 connecting to the Northern Clump. Furthermore, the absorption-corrected eROSITA surface brightness map shows that this emission filament extends south of A3395 and beyond an extended X-ray-emitting object (the “Little Southern Clump”) towards another galaxy cluster, all at the same redshift. The total projected length of this continuous warm-hot emission filament is 15 Mpc, running almost 4 degrees across the entire eROSITA PV observation field. The Northern and Southern Filament are each detected at >4 σ . The Planck SZ map additionally appears to support the presence of both new filaments. Furthermore, the DECam galaxy density map shows galaxy overdensities in the same regions. Overall, the new datasets provide impressive confirmation of the theoretically expected structure formation processes on the individual system level, including the surrounding warm-hot intergalactic medium distribution; the similarities of features found in a similar system in the Magneticum simulation are striking. Our spatially resolved findings show that baryons indeed reside in large-scale warm-hot gas filaments with a clumpy structure.« less
  5. Microorganisms often navigate a complex environment composed of a viscous fluid with suspended microstructures such as elastic polymers and filamentous networks. These microstructures can have similar length scales to the microorganisms, leading to complex swimming dynamics. Some microorganisms secrete enzymes that dynamically change the elastic properties of the viscoelastic networks through which they move. In addition to biological organisms, microrobots have been engineered with the goals of mucin gel penetration or dissolving blood clots. In order to gain insight into the coupling between swimming performance and network remodeling, we used a regularized Stokeslet boundary element method to compute the motion of a microswimmer consisting of a rotating spherical body and counter-rotating helical flagellum. The viscoelastic network is represented by a network of points connected by virtual elastic linkages immersed in a viscous fluid. Here, we model the enzymatic dissolution of the network by bacteria or microrobots by dynamically breaking elastic linkages when the cell body of the swimmer falls within a given distance from the link. We investigate the swimming performance of the microbes as they penetrate and move through networks of different material properties, and also examine the effect of network remodeling.