Flexible shape-memory alloy-based actuator: Mechanical design optimization according to application

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Publication date
2019-09
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MDPI
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Abstract
New robotic applications, among others, in medical and related fields, have in recent years boosted research in the development of new actuators in the search for solutions that are lighter and more flexible than conventional actuators. Shape-Memory Alloy (SMA)-based actuators present characteristics that make them an excellent alternative in a wide variety of applications. This paper presents the design, tests (with the control description) and analysis of various configurations of actuators based on SMA wires: flexible SMA actuators, different mechanical design to multiply the displacement and different configurations for actuators with multiple SMA wires. The performance of the actuators has been analyzed using wires of different activation temperatures. The influence of the Bowden sheath of the flexible actuator has been tested, as has the thermal behavior of actuators with several wires. This work has allowed determination of the most effective configuration for the development of a flexible actuator based on SMA, from the point of view of dimensions, efficiency, and work frequency. This type of actuator has been applied in the development of soft robots and light robotic exoskeletons.
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This article belongs to the Special Issue Actuators Based on Shape Memory Alloys.
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