Basic Design of a Biomimetic Underwater Soft Robot With Switchable Swimming Modes and Programmable Artificial Muscles
Smart Materials and Structures
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A biomimetic underwater robot was designed utilizing ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) artificial muscles. The actuators were controlled by thermal and electrical inputs, taking advantage of both the shape-memory and electromechanical behavior of the material, to achieve multiple swimming modes in the proposed robot. The design was inspired by the pectoral fish swimming modes, such as stingrays, knifefish, and cuttlefish. The robot was actuated by two soft fins which consisted of multiple embedded IPMC actuators connected with an Eco-Flex membrane. Through electromechanical actuation, a traveling wave was generated on the soft fin. The deformation and the blocking force of the IPMCs on the fin were measured to characterize the actuators. An experimental setup was also designed in a flow channel to measure the thrust force of the robot under different frequencies and traveling wave numbers in a captive state. Experiments determined a peak thrusting force of 12 mN at a frequency of 0.5 Hz and wave number of 1, and twisting deformations of 30° were obtained. Additionally, shape-memory was utilized to change the swimming mode of the robot from Gymnotiform to Mobuliform. The designed underwater robot utilizes IPMC materials with multi-input control, enabling high deformability, with available maneuverability and agility in future studies.
Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite; Biomimetic Underwater Soft Robot; Artificial Muscle
Engineering | Mechanical Engineering
Basic Design of a Biomimetic Underwater Soft Robot With Switchable Swimming Modes and Programmable Artificial Muscles.
Smart Materials and Structures, 29(3),