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Development of Active-Cells for Macroscopically Deformable Structures

[+] Author Affiliations
Ahsan I. Nawroj, John P. Swensen, Aaron M. Dollar

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Paper No. SMASIS2014-7448, pp. V002T04A003; 5 pages
doi:10.1115/SMASIS2014-7448
From:
  • ASME 2014 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting
  • Newport, Rhode Island, USA, September 8–10, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4615-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME

abstract

In this paper we describe extensions and improvements upon prior work on “active cells” — small contractile electromechanical elements used in large numbers to create actuated composite structures. Each element (cell) consists of square fiberglass end-pieces encapsulating a bias spring within two telescoping tubes, actuated using two contractile shape memory coils, and occupying approx. 1cm3 when fully contracted. The end-pieces contain conductive interfaces to nearby cells, thus allowing channeling of power through a connected network of cells to provide actuation far from the source of electrical current. Prior work developed the conceptual structure of such a cell as well as preliminary prototypes. This paper describes the attachment of cells to each other and to rapid-prototyped cell interconnects — as well as improved fabrication techniques for the shape-memory coils — resulting in robust actuation for each cell, and the creation of considerably more complex chained and networked composite structures. A detailed exploration of appropriate interconnect mechanisms, powering schemes to provide network-level structural deformations, and examples of multi-cell structures are presented.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME

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