Fabrication of a Polyimide Film Pneumatic Actuator by Molding and Welding Processes
The bellows pneumatic actuator, which is made by folding a non-stretch film, has been proposed for various applications because it is easy to fabricate and is extremely thin and light. However, it has subpar durability performance, especially in the folded part of the film. In this study, we propose an actuator with a pod structure that possesses high design flexibility and is free from folding. A method of molding a pod structure on a polyimide film was established and a pneumatic actuator was successfully fabricated by using PI films. Two types of PI film pneumatic actuators with the same curvature, bellows type, and pod type were fabricated. Both were confirmed to have equivalent output characteristics. The bending angle and generated torque of the pod-structure actuator were 34 degrees and 3.3 mNm, respectively. In addition, the pod structure has approximately twice the durability of the bellows structure. By using the fabrication method proposed in this paper, it is possible to realize an air chamber (i.e., an actuator) that has both high durability and bending motion.
Actuators 10 (8), 177-, 2021-07-30