skip to main content

Title: Multi-material inverse design of soft deformable bodies via functional optimization

Controlling the deformation of a soft body has potential applications in fields requiring precise control over the shape of the body. Areas such as medical robotics can use the shape control of soft robots to repair aneurysms in humans, deliver medicines within the body, among other applications. However, given known external loading, it is usually not possible to deform a soft body into arbitrary shapes if it is fabricated using only a single material. In this work, we propose a new physics-based method for the computational design of soft hyperelastic bodies to address this problem. The method takes as input an undeformed shape of a body, a specified external load, and a user desired final shape. It then solves an inverse problem in design using nonlinear optimization subject to physics constraints. The nonlinear program is solved using a gradient-based interior-point method. Analytical gradients are computed for efficiency. The method outputs fields of material properties which can be used to fabricate a soft body. A body fabricated to match this material field is expected to deform into a user-desired shape, given the same external loading input. Two regularizers are used to ascribea prioricharacteristics of smoothness and contrast, respectively, to the more » spatial distribution of material fields. The performance of the method is tested on three example cases in silico.

« less
; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Inverse Problems
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 035006
IOP Publishing
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Ferromagnetic soft materials can generate flexible mobility and changeable configurations under an external magnetic field. They are used in a wide variety of applications, such as soft robots, compliant actuators, flexible electronics, and bionic medical devices. The magnetic field enables fast and biologically safe remote control of the ferromagnetic soft material. The shape changes of ferromagnetic soft elastomers are driven by the ferromagnetic particles embedded in the matrix of a soft elastomer. The external magnetic field induces a magnetic torque on the magnetized soft material, causing it to deform. To achieve the desired motion, the soft active structure can be designed by tailoring the layouts of the ferromagnetic soft elastomers. This paper aims to optimize multi-material ferromagnetic actuators. Multi-material ferromagnetic flexible actuators are optimized for the desired kinematic performance using the reconciled level set method. This type of magnetically driven actuator can carry out more complex shape transformations by introducing ferromagnetic soft materials with more than one magnetization direction. Whereas many soft active actuators exist in the form of thin shells, the newly proposed extended level set method (X-LSM) is employed to perform conformal topology optimization of ferromagnetic soft actuators on the manifolds. The objective function comprises two sub-objective functions,more »one for the kinematic requirement and the other for minimal compliance. Shape sensitivity analysis is derived using the material time derivative and the adjoint variable method. Three examples are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.« less
  2. Abstract

    In this study, we discuss the characterization and quantification of composite microstructures formed by the external field manipulation of high aspect ratio magnetic particles in an elastomeric matrix. In our prior work, we have demonstrated that the simultaneous application of electric and magnetic fields on hard magnetic particles with geometric anisotropy can create a hierarchy of structures at different length scales, which can be used to achieve a wide range of properties. We aim to characterize these hierarchical structures and relate them to final composite properties so we can achieve our ultimate goal of designing a material for a prescribed performance. The complex particle structures are formed during processing by using electric and magnetic fields, and they are then locked-in by curing the polymer matrix around the particles. The model materials used in the study are barium hexaferrite (BHF) particles and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer. BHF was selected for its hard magnetic properties and high geometric anisotropy. PDMS was selected for its good mechanical properties and its tunable curing kinetics. The resulting BHF-PDMS composites are magnetoactive, i.e., they will deform and actuate in response to magnetic fields. In order to investigate the resulting particle orientation, distribution and alignment and tomore »predict the composite‚Äôs macro scale properties, we developed techniques to quantify the particle structures.

    The general framework we developed allows us to quantify and directly compare the microstructures created within the composites. To identify structures at the different length scales, images of the composite are taken using both optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. We then use ImageJ to analyze them and gather data on particle size, location, and orientation angle. The data is then exported to MATLAB, and is used to run a Minimum Spanning Tree Algorithm to classify the particle structures, and von Mises Distributions to quantify the alignment of said structures.

    Important findings show 1) the ability to control structure using a combination of external electric, magnetic and thermal fields; 2) that electric fields promote long range order while magnetic fields promote short-range order; and 3) the resulting hierarchical structure greatly influence bulk material properties. Manipulating particles in a composite material is technologically important because changes in microstructure can alter the properties of the bulk material. The multifield processing we investigate here can form the basis for next generation additive manufacturing platforms where desired properties are tailored locally through in-situ hierarchical control of particle arrangements.

    « less
  3. Smart structures with actuation function are desired for aerospace applications, including morphing airfoils, deployable structures and more. While shape memory alloys and piezoelectric ceramics and polymers are currently a popular smart material options for such applications, magnetoelastomers (MEs) can be uniquely actuated with application of non-contact magnetic field. Magnetoelastomers (MEs), composite materials made of magnetic particles and soft, non-magnetic matrix, can potentially contribute to such smart structures as a light-weight, smart material option with large strain change, fast response time (milliseconds) and anisotropic actuation properties. Other than aerospace applications, MEs, as soft actuators, have been investigated for flexible electronics, soft robotics, and biomedical applications. Anisotropic actuation properties of MEs can be controlled with particle organization within the elastomer. To provide this control, parametric studies on fabrication of MEs need to be performed. This study presents experimental work on nanoparticle organization within MEs using uniaxial, biaxial and triaxial magnetic fields and on the structure-property relationships of MEs. Iron oxide nanoparticles were used as a model nanofillers, and their surfaces were treated with silane coupling agent to improve dispersion and suspension within a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer. The fabricated MEs were inspected using microCT, and their anisotropic susceptibilities are being measured.
  4. Abstract

    Textile-based compression devices are widely used in fields such as healthcare, astronautics, cosmetics, defense, and more. While traditional compression garments are only able to apply passive pressure on the body, there have been some efforts to integrate smart materials such as shape memory alloys (SMAs) to make compression garments active and controllable. However, despite the advances in this field, accurate control of applied pressure on the body due remains a challenge due to vast population-scale anthropometric variability and intra-subjects variability in tissue softness, even if the actuators themselves are fully characterized. In this study, we begin to address these challenges by developing a novel size-adjustable SMA-based smart tourniquet capable of producing a controllable pressure for circumferential applications. The developed prototype was tested on an inflatable pressure cuff wrapped around a rigid cylinder. The thermal activation of SMA coils was achieved through Joule heating, and a microcontroller and a programmable power supply are used to provide the input signal. To control the compression force, a closed-loop PID controller was implemented, and the performance of the system was evaluated in 5 different testing conditions for variable and cyclic compression levels. The experiments showed that the controlled system could follow the desiredmore »control pressure reference with a steady-state of 1 mmHg. The compression tourniquet is able to produce more than 33 mmHg with an average actuation rate of 0.19 mmHg/s. This is the first demonstration of accurate closed-loop control of an SMA-incorporated compression technology to the best of our knowledge. This paper enables new, dynamic systems with controllable activation and low-effort donning and doffing, with applications ranging from healthcare solutions to advanced spacesuit design.

    « less
  5. Soft intelligent structures that are programmed to reshape and reconfigure under magnetic field can find applications such as in soft robotics and biomedical devices. Here, a new class of smart elastomeric architectures that undergo complex reconfiguration and shape change in applied magnetic fields, while floating on the surface of water, is reported. These magnetoactive soft actuators are fabricated by 3D printing with homocomposite silicone capillary ink. The ultrasoft actuators easily deform by the magnetic force exerted on carbonyl iron particles embedded in the silicone, as well as lateral capillary forces. The tensile and compressive moduli of the actuators are easily determined by their topological design through 3D printing. As a result, their responses can be engineered by the interplay of the intensity of the magnetic field gradient and the programmable moduli. 3D printing allows us to fabricate soft architectures with different actuation modes, such as isotropic/anisotropic contraction and multiple shape changes, as well as functional reconfiguration. Meshes that reconfigure in magnetic fields and respond to external stimuli by reshaping could serve as active tissue scaffolds for cell cultures and soft robots mimicking creatures that live on the surface of water.