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Title: Pneumatic Soft Actuators With Kirigami Skins
Soft pneumatic actuators have become indispensable for many robotic applications due to their reliability, safety, and design flexibility. However, the currently available actuator designs can be challenging to fabricate, requiring labor-intensive and time-consuming processes like reinforcing fiber wrapping and elastomer curing. To address this issue, we propose to use simple-to-fabricate kirigami skins—plastic sleeves with carefully arranged slit cuts—to construct pneumatic actuators with pre-programmable motion capabilities. Such kirigami skin, wrapped outside a cylindrical balloon, can transform the volumetric expansion from pneumatic pressure into anisotropic stretching and shearing, creating a combination of axial extension and twisting in the actuator. Moreover, the kirigami skin exhibits out-of-plane buckling near the slit cut, which enables high stretchability. To capture such complex deformations, we formulate and experimentally validates a new kinematics model to uncover the linkage between the kirigami cutting pattern design and the actuator’s motion characteristics. This model uses a virtual fold and rigid-facet assumption to simplify the motion analysis without sacrificing accuracy. Moreover, we tested the pressure-stroke performance and elastoplastic behaviors of the kirigami-skinned actuator to establish an operation protocol for repeatable performance. Analytical and experimental parametric analysis shows that one can effectively pre-program the actuator’s motion performance, with considerable freedom, simply by adjusting more » the angle and length of the slit cuts. The results of this study can establish the design and analysis framework for a new family of kirigami-skinned pneumatic actuators for many robotic applications. « less
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Award ID(s):
1760943 1933124
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Robotics and AI
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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