Mechanical design and analysis of a crawling locomotion enabled by a laminated beam

Zhe YANG, Liangliang ZHU, Botong LI, Shuocheng SUN, Youlong CHEN, Yuan YAN, Yilun LIU*, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This work presents an innovative design of a simple crawling locomotion machine, which is a bilayer beam and crawls forward through periodically bending and unbending of the beam. Here, the beam has different friction coefficients at the two ends of contact surface between the beam and the substrate. During bending and unbending of the beam, the friction force distribution at the contact surface is asymmetrical, thus a net forward speed (towards the high friction coefficient direction) is generated. Both finite element method (FEM) simulation and theoretical model are employed to clarify the crawling mechanism and to achieve an optimal crawling performance. The effects of geometrical and mechanical parameters of the bilayer beam, as well as the periodically bending actuation on the crawling performance are investigated. A better crawling performance could be achieved with larger beam length, larger bending angle, and higher actuation frequency. An optimum value of the frictional coefficient gradient is found to be ∼0.05 m−1. Besides the asymmetry of the friction coefficient, our results have shown the asymmetry of the geometry of the bilayer beam can also achieve the locomotion. The simple locomotion mechanism presented in this work is applicable not only for macroscale, but also for nanoscale, which may inspire a series of new architectures of soft robot from macroscale to nanoscale. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalExtreme Mechanics Letters
Volume8
Early online date22 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Y.L. acknowledges the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11302163 and 11572239) and X.C. acknowledges the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11172231, 11372241 and 11572238), ARPA-E (DE-AR0000396) and AFOSR (FA9550-12-1-0159).

Keywords

  • Asymmetric friction coefficient
  • Crawling locomotion
  • Mechanical analysis
  • Nano-robots
  • Soft machine

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