Performance study of RTV-2 silicone rubber material for soft actuator: The effect of inflation pressure and wall thickness

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International Journal of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering


The expensive nature of currently used materials in the soft robotic industry demands the consideration of alternative materials for fabrication. This work investigates the performance of RTV-2 grade silicone rubber for fabrication of a soft actuator. Initially, a cylindrical actuator is fabricated using this material and its performance is experimentally assessed for different pressures. Further, parametric variations of the effect of wall thickness and inflation pressure are studied by numerical methods. Results show that, both wall thickness and inflation pressure are influential parameters which affect the elongation behaviour of the actuator. Thin (1.5 mm) sectioned actuators produced 76.97% more elongation compared to thick sectioned, but the stress induced is 89.61 % higher. Whereas, the thick sectioned actuator (6 mm) showed a higher load transmitting capability. With change in wall thickness from 1.5 mm to 6 mm, the elongation is reduced by 76.97 %, 38.35 %, 21.05 % and 11.43 % at pressure 100 kPa, 75 kPa, 50 kPa and 25 kPa respectively. The induced stress is also found reduced by 89.61 %, 86.66 %, 84.46 % and 68.68 % at these pressures. The average load carrying capacity of the actuator is found to be directly proportional to its wall thickness and inflation pressure.

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