Optimization of an Electroactive Polymer-Actuated Arm

Optimization of an Electroactive Polymer-Actuated Arm
Joseph Ash, Matthew Degner, Sara Jasin, Jordan Milford, Kevin
Nash, Josh Oechslin, Catherine Ross, Brandon Shue
Primary Advisor: Dr. John Cotton
The goal of this project is to create a robotic arm that will
successfully compete in the 2006 EAP-in-Action Session of the 2006
International Society for Optical Engineering’s Electroactive Polymer
Actuators and Devices’ Conference. The arm will use electroactive
polymers (EAPs) as artificial muscles. The development of this device
was inspired by the EAP Challenge, a competition proposed to the
scientific community by Dr. Yoseph Bar Cohen in 1999. Due to the
functional similarity of EAPs to human muscle fibers, this challenge
has the ability to advance the field of biomimetics.
Executive Summary: Our project includes the design and
construction of an artificial human arm which can successfully
compete in the 2006 EAP-in-Action Session competition. The
design consists of a composite skeleton, artificial muscle
system, and acid bath pump system. The composite skeleton
was fabricated by last year’s team using Vacuum Assisted
Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM). The artificial muscle design
consists of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) gel fibers activated by an
acid bath system. One of our objectives is to improve last
year’s acid bath system by creating a more complete coverage
of the muscles with a smaller time delay. The resulting
muscles will serve as actuators in the control system. The
functionality of this design is meant to encompass only the
motions and force generation required by the sport of arm