In this article, we have established an analytical model to estimate the quasi-static bending displacement (i.e., angle) of the pneumatic actuators made of two different elastomeric silicones (Elastosil M4601 with a bulk modulus of elasticity of 262 kPa and Translucent Soft silicone with a bulk modulus of elasticity of 48 kPa - both experimentally determined) and of discrete chambers, partially separated from each other with a gap in between the chambers to increase the magnitude of their bending angle. The numerical bending angle results from the proposed gray-box model, and the corresponding experimental results match well that the model is accurate enough to predict the bending behavior of this class of pneumatic soft actuators. Further, by using the experimental bending angle results and blocking force results, the effective modulus of elasticity of the actuators is estimated from a blocking force model. The numerical and experimental results presented show that the bending angle and blocking force models are valid for this class of pneumatic actuators. Another contribution of this study is to incorporate a bistable flexible thin metal typified by a tape measure into the topology of the actuators to prevent the deflection of the actuators under their own weight when operating in the vertical plane.
Available for download on Friday, October 12, 2018