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Great Animatronic News.

David BoccabellaDavid Boccabella Brisbane, Australia Moderator
Hi Folks.
I always keep my eyes out for possibilities and this article may be the holy grail for us creators.

http://engineering.columbia.edu/news/hod-lipson-lifelike-robots

Now - to cut to the quick.. This shows how to create artificial muscles from PlatSil in a way that anyone can do it.

Here is the Formula and Process.

Take 2 part PlatSil (They used Ecoflex 00-50) and mix into each part 20% of Ethanol.  Keep mixing until all of the Ethanol is incorporated in to the PlatSil.

Next wind a small coil of Ni-Chrome wire. Mix A:B together and encapsulate the coil in it. Let set.

Apply a voltage to the coil and let it heat up to approx 80C - you will see the PlatSil expand. Remove the voltage and it will return to the original size.

Principle..
By mixing the Ethanol into the PlatSil you form little 'bubbles' of Ethanol. When the Ethanol is heated above it's boiling point it vaporizes and so expands the 'bubbles' stretching the silicone and creating a muscle.
Removing the voltage caused the temperature to drop and so condense the Ethanol back to a liquid shrinking the silicone.

There is still a lot of development to go but this is a great way to experiment with artificial muscles that could be used in situations like facial movements etc.  Some ideas come to mine re would a lower vaporising liquid work (Hexane, Pentane). What about conductive thread etc.

Hope this gets some idea's running.
Dave


Comments

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Very cool stuff.  I've been following this subject for over a decade, and sadly the progress has not been super great yet.  The challenge is the speed, strength, and accuracy of these is just not there yet.  But hopefully in another 10 years they'll be a bit closer! ;)

    /Chris
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