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Actuators, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Performance Optimization of a Conical Dielectric Elastomer Actuator
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020032
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 18 June 2018
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Abstract
Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are known as ‘artificial muscles’ due to their large actuation strain, high energy density and self-sensing capability. The conical configuration has been widely adopted in DEA applications such as bio-inspired locomotion and micropumps for its good compactness, ease for
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Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are known as ‘artificial muscles’ due to their large actuation strain, high energy density and self-sensing capability. The conical configuration has been widely adopted in DEA applications such as bio-inspired locomotion and micropumps for its good compactness, ease for fabrication and large actuation stroke. However, the conical protrusion of the DEA membrane is characterized by inhomogeneous stresses, which complicate their design. In this work, we present an analytical model-based optimization for conical DEAs with the three biasing elements: (I) linear compression spring; (II) biasing mass; and (III) antagonistic double-cone DEA. The optimization is to find the maximum stroke and work output of a conical DEA by tuning its geometry (inner disk to outer frame radius ratio a/b) and pre-stretch ratio. The results show that (a) for all three cases, stroke and work output are maximum for a pre-stretch ratio of 1 × 1 for the Parker silicone elastomer, which suggests the stretch caused by out-of-plane deformation is sufficient for this specific elastomer. (b) Stroke maximization is obtained for a lower a/b ratio while a larger a/b ratio is required to maximize work output, but the optimal a/b ratio is less than 0.3 in all three cases. (c) The double-cone configuration has the largest stroke while single cone with a biasing mass has the highest work output. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electroactive Polymer Actuators for Soft Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle New Layouts of Fiber Reinforcements to Enable Full Finger Motion Assist with Pneumatic Multi-Chamber Elastomer Actuators
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020031
Received: 7 April 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 18 June 2018
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Abstract
Fiber-reinforced fluid-driven elastomer actuators have enabled the production of simple, low-cost and safe hand rehabilitation devices. However, so far, the actuators support only finger flexion-extension, and little has been reported on abduction-adduction, which is essential for manipulation tasks and grasping larger objects. The
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Fiber-reinforced fluid-driven elastomer actuators have enabled the production of simple, low-cost and safe hand rehabilitation devices. However, so far, the actuators support only finger flexion-extension, and little has been reported on abduction-adduction, which is essential for manipulation tasks and grasping larger objects. The technical design difficulty of realizing abduction-adduction lies in the suppression of interference effects between the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint’s two orthogonal motion axes, caused by the necessary multi-chamber actuator structure and its reinforcements, under strong spatial constraints. This problem has not been solved yet, regardless of research efforts on designing various actuator structures. In this study, our goal was to enable flexion of all three finger joints and abduction-adduction of the MCP joint, while minimizing the interference and realizing required ranges of motion. For this, we propose two new types of fiber reinforcements (separate single loops and two-directional hitching) and their combination to direct a multi-chamber structure’s expansion and strengthen its force output into the wanted directions. The reinforcements’ effects on actuator response were evaluated by attaching prototypes to a dummy finger and measuring its range of motion and related joint torques and forces. Results showed that the single loops provided length extension, while the hitching constrained it from the bottom at the centerline and strengthened flexion. When combined, they could be used to adjust the amount of length extension and flexion along the actuator, without detrimentally affecting the flexion or abduction-adduction functions. In conclusion, the two new reinforcement types have the potential of being a major design factor for fitting the actuators’ response for different users’ finger kinematics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A V-Shaped Actuator Utilizing Electrostatic Force
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020030
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 8 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 18 June 2018
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Abstract
In this study, we propose a new ‘V’-shaped actuator with two panels and experimentally and theoretically investigate its actuation to find the most efficient structure. The V-shaped actuator operates like a seesaw. Specifically, when a high voltage input is applied between the V-shaped
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In this study, we propose a new ‘V’-shaped actuator with two panels and experimentally and theoretically investigate its actuation to find the most efficient structure. The V-shaped actuator operates like a seesaw. Specifically, when a high voltage input is applied between the V-shaped actuator and metal plate at the bottom substrate, another panel rises due to electrostatic attraction. Both gravity and electrostatic attraction forces are utilized for the operation of the actuator. We made a model of the actuation mechanism considering torque, gravity, and electrostatic forces. Theoretical values were compared with experimental results considering all factors of force applied to actuators. Additionally, we added torque by restoring force to compensate for the experimental conditions. The theoretical value almost coincided with the experimental value with R2 = 0.9. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Smart Actuators and Their Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Evolutionary-Based BEL Controller Applied to a Magneto-Rheological Structural System
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020029
Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
This work addresses the problem of finding the best controller parameters in order to improve the response of a single degree-of-freedom structural system under earthquake excitation. The control paradigm considered is based on brain emotional learning (BEL) and the actuation over the building
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This work addresses the problem of finding the best controller parameters in order to improve the response of a single degree-of-freedom structural system under earthquake excitation. The control paradigm considered is based on brain emotional learning (BEL) and the actuation over the building dynamics is carried out by changing the stiffness of a magneto-rheological damper. A typical BEL-based controller requires the definition of several parameters which can prove difficult and non-intuitive to obtain. For this reason, an evolutionary-based search technique has been added to the current problem framework in order to automate the controller design. In particular, the particle swarm optimization method is chosen as the evolutionary based technique to be integrated within the current control paradigm. The obtained results suggest that, indeed, it is possible to parametrize a BEL controller using an evolutionary-based algorithm. Moreover, a simulation shows that the obtained results can outperform the ones obtained by manual tuning each controller parameter individually. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Experimental Characterisation of a Flat Dielectric Elastomer Loudspeaker
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020028
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
Conventional loudspeakers are often heavy, require substantial design spaces and are hard to integrate into lightweight structures (e.g., panels). To overcome these drawbacks, this paper presents a novel extremely flat loudspeaker which uses dielectric elastomer actuators with natural rubber for the elastomeric layers
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Conventional loudspeakers are often heavy, require substantial design spaces and are hard to integrate into lightweight structures (e.g., panels). To overcome these drawbacks, this paper presents a novel extremely flat loudspeaker which uses dielectric elastomer actuators with natural rubber for the elastomeric layers and metal electrodes as transduction mechanism. To facilitate the deformation of the elastomer, the electrodes are perforated. The microscopic holes lead to a macroscopically compressible stack configuration despite the elastomer incompressibility. The design is developed and the materials are chosen to guarantee low mechanical and electrical losses and a high efficiency in the entire frequency range up to several kilohertz. The loudspeaker was designed, built and afterwards experimentally investigated and characterised. Laser measurements of the surface velocity were performed to find dynamic effects present at the diaphragm. To further characterise the device, a semi anechoic chamber as used. Sound pressure levels emitted by the device were recorded at different bias and alternating voltages to study their influence. The nonlinearity of the loudspeaker, which is inherent for this kind of actuators, was quantified considering the total harmonic distortion. Here, a dependence on the amplitude of the alternating voltage is observed. Further, the distortion decreases rapidly the higher the frequency is, which qualifies the loudspeaker concept to properly work at high frequencies. Transfer functions between supplied voltage and on-axis sound pressure were measured and showed in principle potential for high frequency application. Further, the behaviour of the diaphragm changing from rigid piston to resilient disk with respect to frequency for different configurations was observed. Additionally, the directivity of the loudspeaker was investigated at several frequencies, and was in accordance with previously found research outcomes. The results, especially in the high frequency range, prove the usability of this design concept for practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electroactive Polymer Actuators for Soft Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle Polymer Microgripper with Autofocusing and Visual Tracking Operations to Grip Particle Moving in Liquid
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020027
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
A visual-servo automatic micromanipulating system was developed and tested for gripping the moving microparticle suspended in liquid well. An innovative design of microgripper integrated with flexible arms was utilized to constrain particles in a moving work space. A novel focus function by non-normalized
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A visual-servo automatic micromanipulating system was developed and tested for gripping the moving microparticle suspended in liquid well. An innovative design of microgripper integrated with flexible arms was utilized to constrain particles in a moving work space. A novel focus function by non-normalized wavelet entropy was proposed and utilized to estimate the depth for the alignment of microgripper tips and moving particle in the same focus plane. An enhanced tracking algorithm, which is based on Polar Coordinate System Similarity, incorporated with template matching, edge detection method, and circular Hough Transform, was implemented. Experimental tests of the manipulation processes from moving gripper to tracking, gripping, transporting, and releasing 30–50 μm Polystyrene particle in 25 °C water were carried out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micromanipulation)
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Open AccessArticle Modelling and Operator-Based Nonlinear Control for a Miniature Pneumatic Bending Rubber Actuator Considering Bellows
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020026
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 29 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
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Abstract
Recently, many kinds of soft actuators composed of flexible materials, such as silicon rubber, have been studied in the mechatronics field with increasing attention on the artificial muscle in welfare, medical care and biotechnology. Particularly, pneumatic-driven soft actuator moves flexibly and works safely
[...] Read more.
Recently, many kinds of soft actuators composed of flexible materials, such as silicon rubber, have been studied in the mechatronics field with increasing attention on the artificial muscle in welfare, medical care and biotechnology. Particularly, pneumatic-driven soft actuator moves flexibly and works safely because of not electrical but pneumatic input, so that the actuator could perform effectively in the medical operations. A miniature pneumatic bending rubber actuator is a tiny pneumatic-driven soft actuator which has some chambers connected to only one tube providing compressed air and the chamber has bellows. This actuator can bend circularly in two directions and grab delicate objects such as fish eggs, by inputting pressure into its chambers. The actuator, however, has nonlinear property derived from elastomer in input-output relation. The actuator, therefore, sacrifices some degree of control performance instead of obtaining the passive flexibility to delicate objects. To solve the above problem, previous studies have shown, by the experiments, that the effectiveness of designing the nonlinear feedback control system using robust right coprime factorization based on the operator theory for control of the output angle of the actuator. However, the mathematical model used for designing the system caused modelling error because the bellows were not considered in deriving the model. The mathematical model should fit experimental value as well as possible for system design and there has been no example modelling of the micro hand having bellows. In this research, a new model of the micro hand considering its bellows with elastomer property is proposed. Moreover, a control system using the robust right coprime factorization based on the operator theory is designed for the new model. Finally, the effectiveness is shown in the experiment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Reduction of Stress Intensity Factor in Center-Cracked Plates Using Piezoelectric Actuators
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020025
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 27 May 2018
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Abstract
Active repairs using smart materials such as piezoelectric actuators can play a significant role in reducing the crack damage propagation in engineering structures. This study analytically and numerically investigated the active repair of center-cracked plates using piezoelectric actuators. First, the stress intensity factor
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Active repairs using smart materials such as piezoelectric actuators can play a significant role in reducing the crack damage propagation in engineering structures. This study analytically and numerically investigated the active repair of center-cracked plates using piezoelectric actuators. First, the stress intensity factor (SIF) for a center-cracked plate due to stress produced by a piezoelectric actuator is analytically modeled. This analytical model is obtained by applying the method of weight functions. In the second step, the solution is found for the center-cracked plate due to external loading from known linear elastic fracture mechanics. These solutions are then superimposed, taking into account the superposition principle to yield the total stress intensity factor for the integrated piezoelectric actuator to the center-cracked plate. Finally, the proposed theoretical model is verified by finite element simulation. The results indicated that the relative errors of the analytical model and the FEA results are less than 5% in all the cases studied in this paper. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A 3D Printed Linear Pneumatic Actuator for Position, Force and Impedance Control
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020024
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 24 May 2018
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Abstract
Although 3D printing has the potential to provide greater customization and to reduce the costs of creating actuators for industrial applications, the 3D printing of actuators is still a relatively new concept. We have developed a pneumatic actuator with 3D-printed parts and placed
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Although 3D printing has the potential to provide greater customization and to reduce the costs of creating actuators for industrial applications, the 3D printing of actuators is still a relatively new concept. We have developed a pneumatic actuator with 3D-printed parts and placed sensors for position and force control. So far, 3D printing has been used to create pneumatic actuators of the bellows type, thus having a limited travel distance, utilizing low pressures for actuation and being capable of only limited force production and response rates. In contrast, our actuator is linear with a large travel distance and operating at a relatively higher pressure, thus providing great forces and response rates, and this the main novelty of the work. We demonstrate solutions to key challenges that arise during the design and fabrication of 3D-printed linear actuators. These include: (1) the strategic use of metallic parts in high stress areas (i.e., the piston rod); (2) post-processing of the inner surface of the cylinder for smooth finish; (3) piston head design and seal placement for strong and leak-proof action; and (4) sensor choice and placement for position and force control. A permanent magnet placed in the piston head is detected using Hall effect sensors placed along the length of the cylinder to measure the position, and pressure sensors placed at the supply ports were used for force measurement. We demonstrate the actuator performing position, force and impedance control. Our work has the potential to open new avenues for creating less expensive, customizable and capable actuators for industrial and other applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Piezoelectric Plates Distribution for Active Control of Torsional Vibrations
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020023
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract
The active vibration control systems have received considerable attention in various areas of mechanical engineering. The advent of smart materials has significantly increased the available solutions for engineers in this field. Among these, piezoelectric materials are among the most promising ones but their
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The active vibration control systems have received considerable attention in various areas of mechanical engineering. The advent of smart materials has significantly increased the available solutions for engineers in this field. Among these, piezoelectric materials are among the most promising ones but their placement is an important parameter for their efficiency. The optimal placement to damp the flexural modes is a topic widely studied in the literature but this is not for the torsional modes. In this paper a new analytical method to find the optimal placement of piezoelectric plates to control the multimode torsional vibrations of a cantilever beam is proposed. The results are compared with those obtained by a finite element code with a very good agreement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric Actuators 2018)
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Open AccessArticle Investigating the Effect of a Mechanism Combined with a Speed-Increasing Gear and a Pneumatic Artificial Muscle
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020022
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
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Abstract
The lightness and softness of pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) contribute to their safe use in mechanical devices involved with humans. However, a PAM has limited range of motion (ROM) and a stroke-dependent output force. In this paper, a mechanism combined with a PAM
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The lightness and softness of pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) contribute to their safe use in mechanical devices involved with humans. However, a PAM has limited range of motion (ROM) and a stroke-dependent output force. In this paper, a mechanism combined with a PAM and a speed-increasing gear was developed to improve the tradeoff relationship between the ROM and output force and to verify its benefits in order to enhance the convenience of using PAMs. The gear enhanced the ROM and back-drivability of the PAM, which is beneficial for device safety in daily use. We first designed a mechanism consisting of an antagonistic system-driven PAM and the gear, and then simulated the relationship between the ROM and output force of the mechanism. The effectiveness of the mechanism including the gear was compared with a non-gear mechanism with multiple PAMs. We prototyped the PAM mechanism with and without the gear, and their ROMs, impact absorption, and viscoelasticity were experimentally investigated. Results showed that the gear effectively improved both ROM and output torque below a certain load; moreover, the gear ratio and air pressure had large effects on the external static and dynamic forces, respectively. We confirmed comprehensively the effect and feasibility of the mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Lateral Vibration Suppression by Varying Stiffness Control in a Vertically Active Magnetic Suspension System
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020021
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
Reduction of vibration in passively supported lateral directions by varying stiffness control is discussed in a vertically active magnetic suspension system. In the target system, one pair of electromagnets is arranged in differential driving mode to actively control the vertical motion of the
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Reduction of vibration in passively supported lateral directions by varying stiffness control is discussed in a vertically active magnetic suspension system. In the target system, one pair of electromagnets is arranged in differential driving mode to actively control the vertical motion of the floator. Usually the floator is prone to vibrate in the lateral direction because it is passively supported by virtue of the edge effect of the electromagnets. In this work, such vibrations are reduced by incrementing or decrementing the currents simultaneously during vibration without changing the vertical position of the floator. This control strategy is implemented in a developed apparatus where an iron ball is suspended by differentially operated electromagnets without any mechanical contact. Experiments are carried out, and the results show the reduction of lateral vibrations without changing the vertical position of the floator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic Bearing Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Design and Stiffness Evaluation of a Compliant Joint with Parallel Architecture Realizing an Approximately Spherical Motion
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020020
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 21 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper introduces the design of a fully-compliant Spherical Joint (SJ), obtained by the in-parallel connection of two identical open chains each composed of three equal circular flexible beams, having coincident centers of curvature and mutually orthogonal axes of minimum rotational stiffness. Thanks
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This paper introduces the design of a fully-compliant Spherical Joint (SJ), obtained by the in-parallel connection of two identical open chains each composed of three equal circular flexible beams, having coincident centers of curvature and mutually orthogonal axes of minimum rotational stiffness. Thanks to its particular topology, the SJ provides a fully isotropic behavior, the two chains being placed in space so as to be symmetric with respect to the beams’ center of curvature. At first, the overall system compliance matrix is derived by means of an analytical procedure, in order to obtain a parametric formulation of the SJ behavior within the small deflection range. Then, after finite element validation of the analytical model, an optimization study of the beam geometry is developed, with the aim of maximizing the ratio between the SJ primary to secondary compliance factors. At last, the potential advantages and drawbacks of the proposed design are discussed by numerically evaluating the joint performance in terms of parasitic motions within the large deflection range (namely, when large external loads are applied to the envisaged center of spherical motion). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle Design of Contactlessly Powered and Piezoelectrically Actuated Tools for Non-Resonant Vibration Assisted Milling
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020019
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
This contribution presents a novel design approach for vibration assisted machining (VAM). A lot of research has already been done regarding the influence of superimposed vibrations during a milling process, but there is almost no information about how to design a VAM tool
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This contribution presents a novel design approach for vibration assisted machining (VAM). A lot of research has already been done regarding the influence of superimposed vibrations during a milling process, but there is almost no information about how to design a VAM tool where the tool is actually rotating. The proposed system consists of a piezoelectric actuator for vibration excitation, an inductive contactless energy transfer system and an electronic circuit for powering the actuated tool. The main benefit of transferring the required power without mechanical contact is that the maximum spindle speed is no longer restricted by friction of slip rings. A detailed model is shown that enables for preliminary estimation of the system’s response to different excitation signals. Experimental data are provided to validate the model. Finally, some parts are shown that have been manufactured using the contactlessly actuated milling tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric Actuators 2018)
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Open AccessArticle Vibration-Assisted Handling of Dry Fine Powders
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020018
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 31 March 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
Since fine powders tend strongly to adhesion and agglomeration, their processing with conventional methods is difficult or impossible. Typically, in order to enable the handling of fine powders, chemicals are added to increase the flowability and reduce adhesion. This contribution shows that instead
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Since fine powders tend strongly to adhesion and agglomeration, their processing with conventional methods is difficult or impossible. Typically, in order to enable the handling of fine powders, chemicals are added to increase the flowability and reduce adhesion. This contribution shows that instead of additives also vibrations can be used to increase the flowability, to reduce adhesion and cohesion, and thus to enable or improve processes such as precision dosing, mixing, and transport of very fine powders. The methods for manipulating powder properties are described in detail and prototypes for experimental studies are presented. It is shown that the handling of fine powders can be improved by using low-frequency, high-frequency or a combination of low- and high-frequency vibration. Full article
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Open AccessReview Levitating Micro-Actuators: A Review
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020017
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 9 April 2018
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Abstract
Through remote forces, levitating micro-actuators completely eliminate mechanical attachment between the stationary and moving parts of a micro-actuator, thus providing a fundamental solution to overcoming the domination of friction over inertial forces at the micro-scale. Eliminating the usual mechanical constraints promises micro-actuators with
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Through remote forces, levitating micro-actuators completely eliminate mechanical attachment between the stationary and moving parts of a micro-actuator, thus providing a fundamental solution to overcoming the domination of friction over inertial forces at the micro-scale. Eliminating the usual mechanical constraints promises micro-actuators with increased operational capabilities and low dissipation energy. Further reduction of friction and hence dissipation by means of vacuum leads to dramatic increases of performance when compared to mechanically tethered counterparts. In order to efficiently employ the benefits provided by levitation, micro-actuators are classified according to their physical principles as well as by their combinations. Different operating principles, structures, materials and fabrication methods are considered. A detailed analysis of the significant achievements in the technology of micro-optics, micro-magnets and micro-coil fabrication, along with the development of new magnetic materials during recent decades, which has driven the creation of new application domains for levitating micro-actuators is performed. Full article
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Open AccessReview A Review on Parametric Dynamic Models of Magnetorheological Dampers and Their Characterization Methods
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020016
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Magnetorheological (MR) fluids are capable of manifesting a rheological behaviour change by means of a magnetic field application and can be employed in many complex systems in many technical fields. One successful example is their use in the development of dampers: magnetorheological dampers
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Magnetorheological (MR) fluids are capable of manifesting a rheological behaviour change by means of a magnetic field application and can be employed in many complex systems in many technical fields. One successful example is their use in the development of dampers: magnetorheological dampers (MRDs) are widespread in vibration control systems, as well as civil engineering applications (i.e., earthquake or seismic protection), impact absorption and vibration isolation technology in industrial engineering, and advanced prosthetics in biomedical fields. In the past, many studies have been conducted on MRDs modeling and characterization, but they have usually been focused more on the theoretical models than on the experimental issues. In this work, an overview of both of them is proposed. In particular, after an introduction to the physics of the magnetorheological effect, a short review of the main mathematical models of MRDs is proposed. Finally, in the second part of this study an overview of the main issues that occur in MRDs experimental characterization is reported and discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Nonlinearities in Control Description and Design of an Electro Hydraulic Actuator for Flexible Nozzle Thrust Vector Control
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020015
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents all the significant nonlinearities that exist in the description of an electro hydraulic actuator for flexible nozzle thrust vector control. Starting from practical possibilities of the theory of a nonlinear system (which are based on the analyses of one nonlinearity
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This paper presents all the significant nonlinearities that exist in the description of an electro hydraulic actuator for flexible nozzle thrust vector control. Starting from practical possibilities of the theory of a nonlinear system (which are based on the analyses of one nonlinearity or one equivalent nonlinearity in the proximity of the linear description of an actuator), this paper explores the possibilities of additional analyses of a nonlinear electro hydraulic actuator for flexible nozzle thrust vector control. These explored possibilities can provide information that is useful for the design of the control algorithm, as well as for the general design of a flexible nozzle and actuator system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Separation of Microparticles from Suspension Utilizing Ultrasonic Standing Waves in a Piezoelectric Cylinder Actuator
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020014
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 31 March 2018
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Abstract
A method of microparticle separation from larger volumes of suspension is proposed. A piezoelectric cylinder is selected as an ultrasonic wave actuator, the diameter and length of which the volume of the suspension to be purified depends. Numerically and experimentally, it is demonstrated
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A method of microparticle separation from larger volumes of suspension is proposed. A piezoelectric cylinder is selected as an ultrasonic wave actuator, the diameter and length of which the volume of the suspension to be purified depends. Numerically and experimentally, it is demonstrated that the low-level pressure field nodal circles of ultrasonic radiation standing waves concentrate microparticles at different velocities depending on the fluid viscosity. Numerical mathematical modeling has allowed us to identify the basic dynamic characteristics of the piezoelectric actuator to ensure a more effective process of microparticle separation. An important feature of the proposed method is that the ultrasonic radiation stresses that are directly applicable to cell membranes are inadequate to cause them damage. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Pump-Controlled Circuit for Single-Rod Cylinders that Incorporates Limited Throttling Compensating Valves
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020013
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
Valve-controlled hydraulic actuation systems are favored in many applications due to their fast response, high power-to-weight ratio, and stability under variable working conditions. Efficiency, however, is the main disadvantage of these systems. Pump-controlled hydraulic actuations, on the other hand, eliminate energy losses in
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Valve-controlled hydraulic actuation systems are favored in many applications due to their fast response, high power-to-weight ratio, and stability under variable working conditions. Efficiency, however, is the main disadvantage of these systems. Pump-controlled hydraulic actuations, on the other hand, eliminate energy losses in throttling valves and require less cooling. Furthermore, they inherently hold the ability to recover energy from assistive loads. Pump-controlled circuits for double-rod cylinders are well developed and are implemented in many industrial applications, including aviation. However, pump-controlled circuits for single-rod cylinders usually experience performance issues during specific modes of operation. In this paper, a new circuit using two valves to compensate for the differential flow of single-rod actuators is proposed. The compensating valves provide limited throttling over the differential flow only in critical operating regions to alleviate unwanted velocity oscillations. They have a minimum throttling effect in all other operating regions to preserve the efficiency. The new circuit has been experimentally evaluated. Its performance has also been compared with three other previously proposed circuits. The proposed circuit displays an improved performance, besides being capable of energy regeneration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Innovative Silicon Microgrippers for Biomedical Applications: Design, Mechanical Simulation and Evaluation of Protein Fouling
Actuators 2018, 7(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/act7020012
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9583 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The demand of miniaturized, accurate and robust micro-tools for minimally invasive surgery or in general for micro-manipulation, has grown tremendously in recent years. To meet this need, a new-concept comb-driven microgripper was designed and fabricated. Two microgripper prototypes differing for both the number
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The demand of miniaturized, accurate and robust micro-tools for minimally invasive surgery or in general for micro-manipulation, has grown tremendously in recent years. To meet this need, a new-concept comb-driven microgripper was designed and fabricated. Two microgripper prototypes differing for both the number of links and the number of conjugate surface flexure hinges are presented. Their design takes advantage of an innovative concept based on the pseudo-rigid body model, while the study of microgripper mechanical potentialities in different configurations is supported by finite elements’ simulations. These microgrippers, realized by the deep reactive-ion etching technology, are intended as micro-tools for tissue or cell manipulation and for minimally invasive surgery; therefore, their biocompatibility in terms of protein fouling was assessed. Serum albumin dissolved in phosphate buffer was selected to mimic the physiological environment and its adsorption on microgrippers was measured. The presented microgrippers demonstrated having great potential as biomedical tools, showing a modest propensity to adsorb proteins, independently from the protein concentration and time of incubation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micromanipulation)
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