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Studies on Development of Soft Robotic Bending Actuator using Natural Rubber

Affiliations

  • Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University, Manipal - 576104, Karnataka, India

Abstract


Objectives: This article investigates the usage of natural rubber in raw form as an alternative to commercial elastomeric for manufacturing the soft robotic actuator. Methods: Soft actuator is fabricated with pure latex as well as with formic acid as additive. The mold surface was coated with releasing agent and the latex is carefully poured into the mold. Curing was made at room temperature for 2 days and post curing is done at 80°C for two hours. Findings: The actuator made using natural latex without acid exhibited higher shrinkage. Whereas, the actuator treated with formic acid confirms the dimensional stability and comparatively lesser pores. Hence the natural latex with suitable additives can be used in the manufacture of soft actuators for robots. However, there is need of further investigation for establishing optimum combinations of the additives with natural rubber to obtain the desired properties in the actuator. Application: The developments in the proposed field of soft actuator reduce the cost of end effectors which find applications in medical as well as in engineering domain.

Keywords

Actuator, Elastic Material, Latex, 3-D Printing, Soft Robots, Soft Hand.

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