Publication Details

Sangian, D., Foroughi, J., Farajikhah, S., Naficy, S. & Spinks, G. M. (2017). A bladder-free, non-fluidic, conductive McKibben artificial muscle operated electrothermally. Smart Materials and Structures, 26 015011-1-015011-8.


Fluidic McKibben artificial muscles that operate pneumatically or hydraulically provide excellent performance, but require bulky pumps/compressors, valves and connecting lines. Use of a pressure generating material, such as thermally expanding paraffin wax, can eliminate the need for these pumps and associated infrastructure. Here we further develop this concept by introducing the first bladderless McKibben muscle wherein molten paraffin is contained by surface tension within a tailored braid. Incorporation of electrically conductive wires in the braid allows for convenient Joule heating of the paraffin. The muscle is light (0.14 g) with a diameter of 1.4mm and is capable of generating a tensile stress of 50 kPa (0.039 N) in 20 s. The maximum contraction strain of 10% (7.6 kPa given load) was achieved in 60 s with an applied electrical power of 0.35 W.

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