In that paper, team members described how they solved the problem of making a dielectric elastomer generate energy. According to the abstract, such elastomers switch back and forth between their electrical and mechanical thermodynamic states. This lets them perform the functions of actuator, sensor, and generator, but challenges remain due to electromechanical coupling, complex dissipative processes, and material non-linearity.
Careful and thorough thermodynamic and loss modeling plus experiments resulted in the conclusion that dielectric elastomer generators (DEGs) convert energy at an energy density at least an order of magnitude greater than electromagnetic generators and piezoelectrics. The team has also concluded that natural rubber, which is more durable and less viscous than typical very high bond (VHB) dielectric elastomers, can also convert as much as three times the amount of energy. It's also less expensive, which could lead to portable, high-performance generators.
A comparison of the main types of electroactivated polymers (EAPs) by maximum strain, pressure and efficiency, as well as the driving electric field and cycle time. (Source: IDTechEx)
Koh's team expects to file a patent for the robotic muscle materials and the specific activation process. They hope to develop a robotic arm using those muscles within the next three to five years, about half the size of an adult human arm. Other uses besides robots might be more efficient cranes for moving large objects.
According to a recent study on EAPs by IdTechEx, EAPs can be used as actuators and sensors, energy harvesting and storage devices, as well as robotics. In medical devices and robotics, electroactive polymers generate force, enable movement, and electrically control surface properties. Some dielectric elastomers and piezoelectric fluoropolymers are commercially available, but have drawbacks such as a high operating voltage and costs too high for applications such as large-area thin-film sensors, or touchscreens in consumer electronics.
In this particular context the connotation of "intellectual" was a bit negative, as referring to one who is showing off how much they know. Which was by no means my intention this time.
And the stupid windows OS keeps interrupting what I am doing to tell me that it needs to restart the computer to implement some useless update that it decided that I needed. Why should it be that important, when it won't even reveal what all of these updates are. ANY REPUTABLE and honest company would not bring a product to market until it was ready. BUT microsopht chooses to deliver quite buggy products on a routine basis. That tells me a lot about their priorities.
William, I thoroughly enjoy our exchanges, even when we misunderstand each other. Unfortunately, that's easy to do in short written missives like email or this comments format. 100-plus years ago people wrote long, handwritten letters to each other over the period of several months, even years, in which there was more space and time to communicate nuances and details more thoroughly.
And has the word "intellectual" become something bad in some context? I think it's difficult for intelligent people to not be intellectual also. Or perhaps I should ask first: what do *you* mean by the word "intellectual"?
It appears that you have a creative mind and an excellent imagination as well. Sometimes my statements should simply be taken at face value, although looking up the documented meanings of words may be helpful, sinc I not only don't follow fads, I often actively reject them. This includes that lazy fad of incorrect word usage. EEK!, I am beginning to sound like an "intellectual." Not what I intended to convey.
Ann, no, excitement is a very accurate word for thae descriptionj. Not what it's connotation brings to mind, which is typically fun, but more toward the formal definition of driving into motion. But the thing is that polymer muscles are an entirely new thing and they would appear to have a unique set of characteristics unlike anything we are familiar with.
Ann, that is it, exactkly. Just imagine a very low loss capacitor of some medium high capacitance with the stored voltage dependant on mechanicalmdisplacement. And imagine that same capacitor delivering a lot of mechanical displacement when it gets short circuited. I can see a fair amount of excitement for those who would be careless just a bit.
Thanks for that, William. Now I see your point, and I think it's an interesting one. I also note that the study on EAPs mentions the drawback of high operating voltage, so I understand why you see a challenge here.
Ann, yes, I am referencing the one statement about them being something like a capacitor. It is already common that not only can some ceramic capacitors produce sounds, but that they can also deliver voltages based on external vibration. These polymer muscle devices produce force when driven by an electrical charge, in all probability they will also produce a charge in response to an external force. Now picture yourself stumbling and falling forward, and catching yourself with your hands. For most people there would be no injury, but quite a bit of force. Now imagine that same amount of force suddenly being applied to a polymer muscle, and the resulting voltage that it would produce. And it is quite likely that these devices will have larger values of capacitance, similar to the current "supercap" devices. So I can see the existance of large voltages not planned for, and large forces inadvertantly released, and a chance at stored charges awaiting the unsuspecting.
None of these would be a "show-stopper", but they could certainly lead to additional challenges to deal with.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.