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Bio-inspired Miniature Suction Cups Actuated by Shape Memory Alloy

Author(s): Hu Bing-shan | Wang Li-wen | Fu Zhuang | Zhao Yan-zheng

Journal: International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems
ISSN 1729-8806

Volume: 6;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Suction cup; bio-inspired; SMA; miniature; wall climbing robot

Wall climbing robots using negative pressure suction always employ air pumps which have great noise and large volume. Two prototypes of bio-inspired miniature suction cup actuated by shape memory alloy (SMA) are designed based on studying characteristics of biologic suction apparatuses, and the suction cups in this paper can be used as adhesion mechanisms for miniature wall climbing robots without air pumps. The first prototype with a two-way shape memory effect (TWSME) extension TiNi spring imitates the piston structure of the stalked sucker; the second one actuated by a one way SMA actuator with a bias has a basic structure of stiff margin, guiding element, leader and elastic element. Analytical model of the second prototype is founded considering the constitutive model of the SMA actuator, the deflection of the thin elastic plate under compound load and the thermo-dynamic model of the sealed air cavity. Experiments are done to test their suction characteristics, and the analytical model of the second prototype is simulated on Matlab/simulink platform and validated by experiments.
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