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Design and analysis of active fluid-and-cellular solid composites for controllable stiffness robotic elements

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dc.contributor.advisor Karl Iagnemma. en_US
dc.contributor.author Cheng, Nadia G. (Nadia Gen San) en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2010-01-07T20:55:17Z
dc.date.available 2010-01-07T20:55:17Z
dc.date.copyright 2009 en_US
dc.date.issued 2009 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/50574
dc.description Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2009. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (leaves 107-108). en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the use of a new class of materials for realizing soft robots. Specifically, meso-scale composites--composed of cellular solids impregnated with active fluids-were be designed to have controllable stiffness to take the form of a continuous body of a soft robot. This represents an improvement compared to past efforts in soft robotics, which often involved modifying the infrastructure of current, rigid robots to yield softer ones. This latter approach often faced the challenges of developing actuators that were "soft" but still discrete, and were limited in performance. In contrast, the controllable-stiffness composites proposed in this thesis eliminate the need for multiple actuators; a single structure can transition between various states to serve as both rigid, load-bearing components as well as morphable, compliant ones. While the vast range of fluid-foam combinations for such an application have yet to be explored, the work presented here focuses on a specific composite: open-cell polyurethane foam impregnated with wax. This type of composite can be thermally activated to exhibit both solid and nearly fluid states (while the wax can be melted to become a fluid, the foam holds the composite together as a pseudo-solid). This thesis discusses the research that has been conducted to 1) characterize the mechanical properties of wax-foam composites as well as 2) investigate possible ways in which the composites can be used as robotic components. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Nadia G. Cheng. en_US
dc.format.extent 108 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582 en_US
dc.subject Mechanical Engineering. en_US
dc.title Design and analysis of active fluid-and-cellular solid composites for controllable stiffness robotic elements en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree S.M. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 464227981 en_US


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