Transient thermo-mechanical analysis for bimorph soft robot based on thermally responsive liquid crystal elastomers

Yun Cui, Yafei Yin, Chengjun Wang, K. Sim, Yuhang Li, Cunjiang Yu, Jizhou Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thermally responsive liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) hold great promise in applications of soft robots and actuators because of the induced size and shape change with temperature. Experiments have successfully demonstrated that the LCE based bimorphs can be effective soft robots once integrated with soft sensors and thermal actuators. Here, we present an analytical transient thermo-mechanical model for a bimorph structure based soft robot, which consists of a strip of LCE and a thermal inert polymer actuated by an ultrathin stretchable open-mesh shaped heater to mimic the unique locomotion behaviors of an inchworm. The coupled mechanical and thermal analysis based on the thermo-mechanical theory is carried out to underpin the transient bending behavior, and a systematic understanding is therefore achieved. The key analytical results reveal that the thickness and the modulus ratio of the LCE and the inert polymer layer dominate the transient bending deformation. The analytical results will not only render fundamental understanding of the actuation of bimorph structures, but also facilitate the rational design of soft robotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-952
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Mathematics and Mechanics (English Edition)
Volume40
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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