4D printing inflatable silicone structures

Coulter, F.B. and Ianakiev, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-1413-8110, 2015. 4D printing inflatable silicone structures. 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, 2 (3), pp. 140-144. ISSN 2329-7662

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This article details steps in creating low-power artificial muscles using 3D printing. It describes a manufacturing system that can be used to fabricate seamless tubular dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA), for eventual use in biorobotic devices. The focus is on producing passive elastomeric components of DEA and the dimensional changes that occur after printing is complete. A four-axis printing system is described, capable of spray depositing multilayer tubular silicone membranes onto an air-permeable mandrel. Mechanical strain was imparted in the membranes by means of inflation. A laser measurement system was constructed to act as a 3D scanner, which measured the shape of the inflated ‘‘balloon.’’ The surface shape was reconstructed in software using the parametric modeling tool Grasshopper. Seamless auxetic tessellations were calculated across the entire surface, and then converted to CNC GCode. These toolpaths were then physically extruded over the surface of the balloon, stacked five layers high. When the extruded silicone structure was completely cured, the pneumatic strain was released, allowing the structure to collapse evenly. The compression in the printed structure was balanced by the tension in the stretched membranes, thus producing a minimum energy structure.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Creators: Coulter, F.B. and Ianakiev, A.
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Date: 21 September 2015
Volume: 2
Number: 3
ISSN: 2329-7662
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 18 Jan 2018 09:47
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2018 09:47
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/32473

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