MODELING AND SIMULATIONS FOR OPTIMIZATION OF MICROFLUIDIC MICROCAPACITOR ARRAYS OF BIOMIMETIC ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES FOR QUIET PROPULSION AND EXOSKELETAL LOCOMOTION
Keeven, Joshua M.
Leckie, Jacob M.
Kartalov, Emil P.
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The technology that we focused on was the biomimetic actuation of microfluidic microcapacitors, which are electrostatically actuated structures that contract and function like biological muscles. Our thesis aims to find the optimal muscle-to-tendon ratio while expanding both the standard and gap design arrays and to find the respective force-density saturation values so predicted force output can be calculated for muscle fibers of a practical size. We also studied if a 3D virtual object can be a suitable model for the human operators’ examination of the artificial muscle and the optimization of its structure. Our results showed a maximum force density saturation of 8800 Pa and 6700 Pa when simulating the standard and gap array respectively with planar polarity wired artificial muscles. The optimal muscle-to-tendon ratio from the data gathered on the standard array simulations is approximately 9 to 1, meaning 90 percent of the surface area of the XY plane represents microfluidic capacitors and 10 percent is dielectric tendon material. The optimal muscle to tendon ratio from the data gathered on the gap array simulations is approximately 75 to 25, meaning 75 percent of the surface area of the XY plane are microfluidic capacitors, and 25 percent is both the dielectric material and gaps.
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