Callaghan Innovation Research Papers

Back to Research Papers

TitleA thin membrane artificial muscle rotary motor
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsAnderson, I.A., Hale T., Gisby T., Inamura T., McKay T., O'Brien B., Walbran S., and Calius E.P.
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Pagination75 - 83
Date Published2010
ISSN09478396 (ISSN)
KeywordsActive mass, Actuators, Artificial muscle, Automobile exhibitions, Data envelopment analysis, Dielectric elastomer actuators, Driving mechanism, Electro-active polymers, Finite element modeling, High torque, Low mass, Maximum torque, Membrane fabrication, Membrane layers, Membranes, Motors, Muscle, Orbital motions, Peak power, Robotics, Robots, Rotary motions, Rotary motor, Rotating machinery, Rotational speed, Specific power, Stepper motor, Thin membrane, Torque
AbstractDesirable 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. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

Back to top