Hydrogen-fuel-powered bell segments of biomimetic jellyfish

Yonas Tadesse, Alex Villanueva, Carter Haines, David Novitski, Ray Baughman, Shashank Priya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Artificial muscles powered by a renewable energy source are desired for joint articulation in bio-inspired autonomous systems. In this study, a robotic underwater vehicle, inspired by jellyfish, was designed to be actuated by a chemical fuel source. The fuel-powered muscles presented in this work comprise nano-platinum catalyst-coated multi-wall carbon nanotube (MWCNT) sheets, wrapped on the surface of nickeltitanium (NiTi) shape memory alloy (SMA). As a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen gases makes contact with the platinum, the resulting exothermic reaction activates the nickeltitanium (NiTi)-based SMA. The MWCNT sheets serve as a support for the platinum particles and enhance the heat transfer due to the high thermal conductivity between the composite and the SMA. A hydrogen and oxygen fuel source could potentially provide higher power density than electrical sources. Several vehicle designs were considered and a peripheral SMA configuration under the robotic bell was chosen as the best arrangement. Constitutive equations combined with thermodynamic modeling were developed to understand the influence of system parameters that affect the overall actuation behavior of the fuel-powered SMA. The model is based on the changes in entropy of the hydrogen and oxygen fuel on the composite actuator within a channel. The specific heat capacity is the dominant factor controlling the width of the strain for various pulse widths of fuel delivery. Both theoretical and experimental strains for different diameter (100 and 150νm) SMA/MWCNT/Pt fuel-powered muscles with dead weight attached at the end exhibited the highest magnitude under 450ms of fuel delivery within 1.6mm diameter conduit size. Fuel-powered bell deformation of 13.5% was found to be comparable to that of electrically powered (29%) and natural jellyfish (42%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045013
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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