Publication Details

Sangian, D., Naficy, S., Spinks, G. M. & Tondu, B. (2015). The effect of geometry and material properties on the performance of a small hydraulic McKibben muscle system. Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical, 234 150-157.


Fluidic McKibben artificial muscles are one of the most popular biomimetic actuators, showing similar static and dynamic performance to skeletal muscles. In particular, their pneumatic version offers high-generated force, high speed and high strain in comparison to other actuators. This paper investigates the development of a small-size, fully enclosed, hydraulic McKibben muscle powered by a low voltage pump. Hydraulic McKibben muscles with an outside diameter of 6 mm and a length ranging from 35 mm to 80 mm were investigated. These muscles are able to generate forces up to 26 N, strains up to 23%, power to mass of 30 W/kg and tension intensity of 1.78 N/mm2 at supply water pressure of 2.5 bar. The effects of injected pressure and inner tube stiffness on the actuation strain and force generation were studied and a simple model introduced to quantitatively estimate force and stroke generated for a given input pressure. This unique actuation system is lightweight and can be easily modified to be employed in small robotic systems where large movements in short time are required.

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