Towards the design of electric field driven self-folding gripper

Saad Ahmed, Anil Erol, Wei Zhang, Jonathan Hong, Zoubeida Ounaies, Paris Von Lockette, Mary Frecker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Electroactive polymer (EAPs)-based technologies have shown promise in areas such as artificial muscles, aerospace, medical devices and soft robotics because of large electromechanical actuation at relatively high speed. The promises of EAPs have led us to study EAP-based grippers. The in-plane actuation of P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) is converted into bending actuation using unimorph configurations, where one passive substrate layer is attached to the active polymer. On-demand segmented folding is harnessed from this pure bending actuation by creating notch samples with an aim to implement them for applications like soft robotics gripper. In this paper, we studied the effect of various design parameters of notched folding actuators to establish a design reference and maximize the actuation performance of EAP based devices. Both finite element analysis (FEA) and micromechanics based analytical study is performed to investigate the effect of actuator parameters on the folding actuation of notched samples. The notched configuration has been analyzed via FEA for the non-uniform deformations and stress-fields. FEA analysis shows the importance of notch positioning to maximize the electromechanical performance. On the other hand, analytical study has proposed a design curve for the selection of proper notch parameters (e.g. notch length and Young's Modulus) to maximize the actuation performance. Finally, based on the FEA and analytical analysis, a human finger inspired 'finger-like' biomimetic actuator is realized by assigning multiple notches to the structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII
EditorsHani E. Naguib
ISBN (Electronic)9781510625914
StatePublished - 2019
EventBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII 2019 - Denver, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2019Mar 6 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceBehavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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