A new approach to develop, characterise and model actuating textiles

Publication Name

Smart Materials and Structures


Smart materials are capable of recognising environmental stimuli, processing the information arising from the stimuli, and responding to it in an appropriate manner. It is well known that smart textiles provide some interesting possibilities in this regard. Consequently, smart textiles based on artificial muscles polymer actuators will provide a breakthrough to many areas including soft robotics, prosthetics, and healthcare for the benefit of humankind. Therefore, it is a worthy attempt to work on artificial muscle designs to aid them in applications. This paper presents the effect of fibre arrangement within a material structure for force and stroke generation. A method of fabrication, characterisation of actuating textiles was presented with experimental results. Most importantly, a modelling was carried out to develop equations to calculate the force and stroke of actuating textiles which has not been reported to date. A reasonable agreement was found between calculated and measured force/stroke curves of both woven and knitted textiles. The woven textile exhibited a force enhancement directly proportional to the number of actuators while retaining the same strain of the single actuator. Nonetheless, the force and strain of knitted textile were highly dependent on the number of wales and courses per unit length. The fabricated knitted textile showed a lesser strain than the single actuator with a force amplification. However, the performance parameters of as fabricated knitted textiles were higher than the fabricated woven textile. Finally a practical applications, process for bulk manufacturing of silicone coated actuators was proposed to enable them in commercialised products and long length production. This study will enable developers to select the fibre architectures and suitable actuators to suit a particular end requirement.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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