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Control of the Stiffness of Robotic Appendages Using Dielectric Elastomers

Title: Control of the Stiffness of Robotic Appendages Using Dielectric Elastomers.
Name(s): Morton, Jeffrey, author
Oates, William S., professor directing thesis
Collins, Emmanuel, committee member
Clark, Jonathan, committee member
Kalu, Peter N., committee member
Department of Mechanical Engineering, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: A new robotic leg design is presented that utilizes dielectric elastomers (3M VHB 4910) to rapidly control stiffness changes for enhanced mobility and agility of a field demonstrated hexapod robot. It has been shown that stiffness changes of electro-active membranes made of dielectric elastomers can overcome challenges with other polymer materials that use heat to create modulus and stiffness changes. Applied electric fields eliminate issues with thermal transport rates and thermo-mechanical delaminatation. The dielectric elastomer is characterized uniaxially to understand its hyperelastic and viscoelastic properties. The uniaxial data is fit to a hyperelastic and viscoelastic finite deformation model. The material is then pre-stretched biaxially to stretch ratios ranging from 200%, 300% and 400%. A set of electro-mechanical transverse load experiments are then utilized to obtain up to 92% reduction in stiffness that is controlled by an electric field. The results are compared to a finite deformation membrane finite element model to understand and improve field driven stiffness changes for real-time robotic applications.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-5055 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: March 30, 2012.
Keywords: bio-inspired, biomimetic, Dielectric elastomer, VHB
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: William S. Oates, Professor Directing Thesis; Emmanuel Collins, Committee Member; Jonathan Clark, Committee Member; Peter N. Kalu, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Mechanical engineering
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Host Institution: FSU

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Morton, J. (2012). Control of the Stiffness of Robotic Appendages Using Dielectric Elastomers. Retrieved from