Spirally deformable soft actuators and their designable helical actuations based on a highly oriented carbon nanotube film

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Qingwei Li
  • Xingbei Wang
  • Lixin Dong
  • Changhong Liu
  • Shoushan Fan

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9788-9796
Journal / PublicationSoft Matter
Volume15
Issue number47
Online published12 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2019

Abstract

Spiral configurations and helical curlings of plant tendrils and seed pods are very common in nature. Many researchers have tried to develop spirally deformable actuators to mimic these natural spirals through several approaches, such as preforming helical shapes, processing diagonal stripes and employing anisotropic organic layers. However, these methods are usually complex and time-consuming. Here, we used an efficient method to produce a highly oriented carbon nanotube (CNT) film and develop a series of spirally deformable soft actuators which perform various controllable helical actuations. The actuator consists of a CNT layer with strong anisotropy and a silicone layer. By simply adjusting the orientations of the aligned CNTs, the prepared actuators can accomplish left- or right-handed spiral deformations with different helical forms when driven by electricity. Finite element analyses and simulations were conducted to investigate the mechanism. It is confirmed that it is the anisotropic moduli of the CNT film that regulate the internal stress distributions of the actuators and lead to helical actuations. Moreover, complex actuator designs and functional applications were also carried out. A V-shaped actuator can simultaneously achieve left- and right-handed curling with large angles (630°), which vividly imitates the spiral winding of a tendril. A Y-shaped actuator performed three-dimensional movements, which can manipulate lightweight objects deftly. By virtue of easy preparation and flexible function design, the spirally deformable actuators based on the oriented CNT film will be very promising in artificial muscles and bionic soft robots.

Research Area(s)

  • RESPONSIVE ACTUATOR, COMPOSITE, ARRAYS, YARNS

Citation Format(s)

Spirally deformable soft actuators and their designable helical actuations based on a highly oriented carbon nanotube film. / Li, Qingwei; Wang, Xingbei; Dong, Lixin; Liu, Changhong; Fan, Shoushan.

In: Soft Matter, Vol. 15, No. 47, 21.12.2019, p. 9788-9796.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review