Additive Manufacturing for Self-Healing Robotics

Project Details

Description

The increasing use of robots in close proximity to humans is giving a major impulse to the development of soft robotics, in which unexpected loads or impacts are dealt with by flexibility and adaptability rather than by making the structure stiffer and stronger than needed for its regular tasks. However, flexibility and softness of actuators and structures entails an inherent sensitivity to damage caused by sharp objects. Anyone having cut his fingers on the edge of a piece of paper can imagine that any human environment can be threatening to a robot with inflatable rubber fingers lacking our self-healing capacity. Over the past few years, we have been active in developing selfhealing rubbers and glasses, and their application in actuators for soft robotics, encompassing a selfhealing mechanical fuse, self-healing pneumatic fingers, and most recently self-healing pleated muscles. To create these actuators, classical production techniques like compression moulding were used, as well as a shaping-through-folding-and-self-healing method that exploits the self-healing properties of the materials. Nevertheless the shapes that can be produced are quite limited. Through the AMSeR project, we will bring additive manufacturing, with its inherent design freedom, to the world of self-healing soft robotics, jumping this field from manual labour into the 21st century make industry. This requires solving an intricate puzzle of material design, material behaviour, and processing methods.
AcronymFWOAL873
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/21

Flemish discipline codes

  • Polymers and plastics

Keywords

  • Robots
  • self-healing polymers
  • reversible covalent networks