THE CONCEPT AND DESIGN OF PLEATED PNEUMATIC ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES
Keywords:pleated pneumatic artificial muscle, PAM, PPAM, McKibben muscle, pneumatic, actuator, lightweight, compliance
This paper describes the design of a new type of Pneumatic Artificial Muscle (PAM), namely the Pleated Pneumatic Artificial Muscle (PPAM). It was developed as an improvement with regard to existing types of PAM, e.g. the McKib-ben muscle. Its principle characteristic is its pleated membrane. It can inflate without material stretching and friction and has practically no stress in the direction perpendicular to its axis of symmetry. Besides these it is extremely strong and yet very lightweight and it has a large stroke compared to most other designs. A general introduction on PAMs is given together with a short discussion and motivation for this new design. The concept of the PPAM is explained and a mathematical model is derived. This model proves its principle of operation. From the model, several characteristics, such as developed force, maximum contraction, diameter, volume and membrane tensile stress, are obtained. Material choices and dimensions of a typical PPAM are next discussed and its measured values of static force and diameter are compared to the model predicted values. The agreement between both is found to be very good.
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