A Healable Resistive Heater as a Stimuli-Providing System in Self-Healing Soft Robots

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Abstract

Self-healing polymers can address the damage
susceptibility in soft robotics. However, in most cases, their
healing requires a heat stimulus, provided by an external device.
This paper presents a self-healing soft actuator with an integrated
healable flexible heater, functioning as the stimuli-providing
system. The actuator is constructed out of thermoreversible
elastomers that are crosslinked by the Diels-Alder (DA) reaction,
which provides the healing ability. The heater is manufactured
from a DA-based composite network filled with 20 wt% carbon
black to provide electrically conductive properties for resistive
Joule heating. The flexibility of the heater does not compromise
the actuator performance upon integration and the self-healing
properties of both heater and actuator allow for damage repair.
This includes very large damages, as both heater and actuator can
recover (near 100%) from being cut completely in two pieces,
using Joule heating at 90 °C with a bias voltage of about 30 V. The
embedded heater, avoids the need for external intervention in the
healing process, and provides healing quality assessment and a
healing on-demand mechanism, paving the way for an optimum
healing solution of damage resilient soft robots that require heat
as a healing stimulus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4574-4581
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Embedded heater
  • healable robots
  • soft actuators
  • Self-healing polymer
  • Bending actuator

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