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Actuators, Volume 10, Issue 1 (January 2021) – 18 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): A sense–analyze–respond–actuate (SARA) system for rapid, label-free detection of bacteria in agricultural waters using nanomaterial actuation triggered by a smartphone. Steps (1) to (8) depict a water quality testing protocol with nanobrush actuation, sensing, data processing, and the use of an artificial reasoning tool (ART) to inform the user of water quality safety based on regulatory standards. SARA is the first cyberphysical system that actuates nanomaterials using smartphone-based electroanalytical testing in real samples. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Position Control of the Dielectric Elastomer Actuator Based on Fractional Derivatives in Modelling and Control
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010018 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
Successful control of a dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) can be a challenging task, especially if no overshoot is desired. The work presents the first use of the PIλDμ control for a dielectric elastomer actuator to eliminate the overshoot. The [...] Read more.
Successful control of a dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) can be a challenging task, especially if no overshoot is desired. The work presents the first use of the PIλDμ control for a dielectric elastomer actuator to eliminate the overshoot. The mathematical model of the dielectric elastomer was established using the fractional Kelvin-Voigt model. Step responses are first tested in the Laplace domain, which gave the most satisfactory results. However, they did not represent the real model. It cannot have negative force acting on the dielectric elastomer actuator. Simulations in Matlab/Simulink were performed to obtain more realistic responses, where output of the PIλDμ controller was limited. Initial parameters for a PID control were obtained by the Wang–Juang–Chan algorithm for the first order plus death time function approximation to the step response of the model, and reused as the basis for the PIλDμ actuator control. A quasi-anti-windup method was introduced to the final control algorithm. Step responses of the PID and the PIλDμ in different domains were verified by simulation and validated by experiments. Experiments proved that the fractional calculus PIλDμ step responses exceeded performance of the basic PID controller for DEA in terms of response time, settling time, and overshoot elimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Muscles and Soft Actuation)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an Exoskeleton-Type Assist Suit Utilizing Variable Stiffness Control Devices Based on Human Joint Characteristics
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010017 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 437
Abstract
In this paper, the prototype of the assistive suit for lower limbs was developed. The prototype was based on an assist method with joint stiffness and antagonized angle control. The assist method comprises a system consisting of a pneumatic artificial muscle and a [...] Read more.
In this paper, the prototype of the assistive suit for lower limbs was developed. The prototype was based on an assist method with joint stiffness and antagonized angle control. The assist method comprises a system consisting of a pneumatic artificial muscle and a pull spring, which changes the joint stiffness and the antagonized angle to correspond to the movement phase and aims at coordinated motion assistance with the wearer. First, the characteristics of the developed prototype were tested. It was confirmed that the measured value of the prototype followed the target value in the relationship between torque and angle. In addition, there was hysteresis in the measured value, but it did not affect the assist. Next, the evaluation of standing-up and gait assist by measuring electromyography (EMG) of the knee extensor muscle was conducted using the prototype. In all subjects, a decrease in EMG due to the assist was confirmed. In one subject, the maximum decrease rate at the peak of the EMG was about 50% for standing-up motion and about 75% for gait motion. From the results of these assist evaluations, the effectiveness of the assist method based on the joint stiffness and antagonistic angle control using the prototype was confirmed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Variable Stiffness Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle
Dielectric Elastomer Actuator-Based Multifunctional Smart Window for Transparency Tuning and Noise Absorption
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010016 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Soft actuators are compliant material-based devices capable of producing large deformation upon external stimuli. Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA) are a type of soft actuator that operates on voltage stimuli. Apart from soft robotics, these actuators can serve many novel applications, for example, tunable [...] Read more.
Soft actuators are compliant material-based devices capable of producing large deformation upon external stimuli. Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA) are a type of soft actuator that operates on voltage stimuli. Apart from soft robotics, these actuators can serve many novel applications, for example, tunable optical gratings, lenses, diffusers, smart windows and so on. This article presents our current work on tunable smart windows which can regulate the light transmittance and the sound absorption. This smart window can promote daylighting while maintaining privacy by electrically switching between transparent and opaque. As a tunable optical surface scatters, it turns transparent with smooth surfaces like a flat glass; but it turns ‘opaque’ (translucent) with the micro-rough surface. The surface roughness is varied employing surface micro-wrinkling or unfolding using dielectric elastomer actuation. Moreover, this smart window is equipped with another layer of transparent micro-perforated dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA), which acts like Helmholtz resonators serving as a tunable and broader sound absorber. It can electrically tune its absorption spectrum to match the noise frequency for maximum acoustic absorption. The membrane tension and perforation size are tuned using DEA activation to tune its acoustic resonant frequency. Such a novel smart window can be made as cheap as glass due to its simple all-solid-state construction. In future, they might be used in smart green buildings and could potentially enhance urban livability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High-Speed, Helical and Self-Coiled Dielectric Polymer Actuator
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010015 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
Novel actuator materials are necessary to advance the field of soft robotics. However, since current solutions are limited in terms of strain, strain rate, or robustness, a new actuator type was developed. In its basic configuration, this actuator consisted of four layers and [...] Read more.
Novel actuator materials are necessary to advance the field of soft robotics. However, since current solutions are limited in terms of strain, strain rate, or robustness, a new actuator type was developed. In its basic configuration, this actuator consisted of four layers and self-coiled into a helix after pre-stretching. The actuator principle was a dielectric polymer actuator. Instead of an elastomer, a thin thermoplastic film, in this case polyethylene, was used as the dielectric and the typically low potential strain was amplified more than 40 times by the helical set-up. In a hot press, the thermoplastic film was joined together with layers of carbon black employed as electrodes and a highly elastic thermoplastic polyurethane film. Once the stack was laser cut into thin strips, they were then stretched over the polyethylene (PE) film’s limit of elasticity and released, thus forming a helix. The manufactured prototype showed a maximum strain of 2% while lifting six times its own weight at actuation frequencies of 3 Hz, which is equivalent to a strain rate of 12%/s. This shows the great potential of the newly developed actuator type. Nevertheless, materials, geometry as well as the manufacturing process are still subject to optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Actuators 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Novel Miniaturized Electromagnetic Actuator for a Modular Serial Manipulator
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010014 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 364
Abstract
This paper presents a novel miniaturized and modular dual-axis Electromagnetic Actuator (EMA). It mainly consists of two electromagnetic coils in an orthogonal orientation with a permanent magnet fixed on a free moving frame that rotates around two axes/joints. By actuating either of the [...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel miniaturized and modular dual-axis Electromagnetic Actuator (EMA). It mainly consists of two electromagnetic coils in an orthogonal orientation with a permanent magnet fixed on a free moving frame that rotates around two axes/joints. By actuating either of the coils, the free moving frame rotates around the corresponding axis. Simulations and experimental analyses are conducted in order to characterize the performance of our EMA. Thus, our actuator achieves a torque of 100 mNm at simulation and 80 mNm through experimentation for the same applied current. Additionally, it can achieve a rotation of 10 (≈0.2 rad), according to simulations and experimental work. Because of modularity, multiple units of our EMA can be connected together in different configuration to serve in several applications. As an example application, we used a pair of our EMA in order to generate a miniaturized 4-DOF robotic manipulator. This manipulator demonstrates the advantages of light weight, small size, and a high level of manipulability. Kinematic analyses and experimental work are performed in order to validate our manipulator and to prove the concept of our proposed EMA. Through this experiment, we applied an open-loop controller on our EMAs, so that the end-effector of our manipulator can track a predefined circular trajectory. The movement of the end-effector is detected while using image processing techniques. Although we used an open-loop controller, our manipulator is still able to track the trajectory with moderate errors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Analysis of a Magnetorheological Shock Absorber Prototype Designed According to a Quasi-Static No-Slip Model
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 13; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010013 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to investigate the limits of the quasi-static, no-slip approach when modeling the activation of magnetorheological (MR) devices. A quasi-static model is implemented to define the hydraulic and magnetic characteristics of an MR damper prototype. Then, an FE [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to investigate the limits of the quasi-static, no-slip approach when modeling the activation of magnetorheological (MR) devices. A quasi-static model is implemented to define the hydraulic and magnetic characteristics of an MR damper prototype. Then, an FE (Finite Element) magnetic simulation activity is carried out to validate theoretical findings, and an optimization procedure is carried out to adjust nominal geometry to actual application. Furthermore, a prototype is realized re-using the maximum number of components that constitute the existing conventional shock absorber. Finally, experimental tests at bench stands are performed. The predictable results demonstrate that neglecting the transient slipping effects, the Force–Velocity performance of the device is correlated with the model findings only for low current intensities acting in the magnetic circuit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Land Transport)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of a TMD to Mitigate Wind-Induced Interference Effects between Two Industrial Chimneys
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 12; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010012 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 426
Abstract
The present paper studies the performance of a tuned mass damper (TMD) installed in a 183 m tall chimney located at the edge of the wake shed by another chimney. Numerical and experimental results are available. For the simulations, wind action is considered [...] Read more.
The present paper studies the performance of a tuned mass damper (TMD) installed in a 183 m tall chimney located at the edge of the wake shed by another chimney. Numerical and experimental results are available. For the simulations, wind action is considered by solving several 2D flow problems on a selected number of horizontal planes, in the transverse direction to the stacks. On such planes, Navier-Stokes equations are solved to estimate the fluid action at different positions of the chimneys and standard interpolation techniques are applied in the vertical direction. An Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) approach is used to consider the moving domain, and a fractional-step scheme is used to solve the fluid field. For the structural modelling, chimneys are meshed using 3D beam finite elements. The time integration procedure used for the structural dynamics is based on the standard second order Bossak method. For each period of time, the fluid problem is solved, the aeroelastic analysis is carried out and the geometry of the fluid mesh of each plane is updated according to the structural movements. With this procedure and model updating techniques, the response of the leeward chimney is evaluated for different scenarios, revealing an interesting dependence of the TMD performance on the wind speed and direction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Anti-Saturation Flow Optimization Algorithm of the Redundant Hydraulic Manipulator
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010011 - 10 Jan 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
As a typical single-pump multi-actuator system, the hydraulic manipulator faces the flow saturation problem when moving at a high speed to track a desired trajectory. To overcome this problem, this paper proposes a real-time anti-saturation flow optimization algorithm based on the gradient projection [...] Read more.
As a typical single-pump multi-actuator system, the hydraulic manipulator faces the flow saturation problem when moving at a high speed to track a desired trajectory. To overcome this problem, this paper proposes a real-time anti-saturation flow optimization algorithm based on the gradient projection method. By projecting the gradient of the demand flow in the null space of the task Jacobians, this algorithm can reduce the flow demand while enforcing a global volumetric flow limit in real time. The model of a 7-degree-of-freedom (DOF) hydraulic redundant manipulator was established to carry out theoretical derivation and algorithm design. Then, the experimental verification was completed on the real manipulator platform. Experimental results show that this algorithm reduces average demand flow by 9.85% and average power consumption by 310.3 W under no saturation condition. When flow saturation occurs, the algorithm can increase the average endpoint velocity by 7.52% and reduce the maximum directional error by 71.73% with an average calculation time step of 3 ms. The average trajectory position error can also be reduced by 42.59% compared with the anti-saturation algorithm. Therefore, the proposed algorithm can achieve real-time optimization to reduce flow consumption and achieve anti-saturation in practical applications of redundant hydraulic manipulator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Manufacturing Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Method for Distributed Parameter Model of Solenoid Valve Based on Kriging Basis Function Predictive Identification Program
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010010 - 07 Jan 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
In this paper, a method for the improvement of the calculation accuracy of the distributed parameter model (DPM) of electromagnetic devices is proposed based on the kriging basis function predictive identification program (PIP). Kriging is mainly an optimal interpolation method which uses spatial [...] Read more.
In this paper, a method for the improvement of the calculation accuracy of the distributed parameter model (DPM) of electromagnetic devices is proposed based on the kriging basis function predictive identification program (PIP). Kriging is mainly an optimal interpolation method which uses spatial self-covariance, and takes a polynomial as the basis function. The accuracy of the kriging-based surrogate model can be improved by adjusting the related functions and hyperparameters. Based on the DPM of a solenoid valve, there exist certain errors in the estimation. They can be summarized as follows: Firstly, the estimation error of magnetic flux leakage (MFL) permeance is caused directly by the deviation of the magnetic flux tube due to the segmented magnetic field line. Secondly, the estimation error of soft magnetic resistance because of the nonlinearity of the permeability of soft magnetic material leads to the change of soft magnetic resistance alongside the magnetic flux. In this paper, an improved kriging error correction method is applied to modify the leak permeance and soft magnetic resistance calculation. The kriging basis function is adjusted to adapt to the data curve of the MFL permeance error data. The calculated MFL permeance data are compared with the error variation data to select the appropriate basis function. To improve the computational efficiency, the PIP is proposed to select the appropriate basis function. The modified MFL permeance data and soft magnetic resistance are substituted into the DPM for improving the computational accuracy and efficiency of the solenoid valve. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design of a 2DoF Ankle Exoskeleton with a Polycentric Structure and a Bi-Directional Tendon-Driven Actuator Controlled Using a PID Neural Network
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010009 - 04 Jan 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Lower limb exoskeleton robots help with walking movements through mechanical force, by identifying the wearer’s walking intention. When the exoskeleton robot is lightweight and comfortable to wear, the stability of walking increases, and energy can be used efficiently. However, because it is difficult [...] Read more.
Lower limb exoskeleton robots help with walking movements through mechanical force, by identifying the wearer’s walking intention. When the exoskeleton robot is lightweight and comfortable to wear, the stability of walking increases, and energy can be used efficiently. However, because it is difficult to implement the complex anatomical movements of the human body, most are designed simply. Due to this, misalignment between the human and robot movement causes the wearer to feel uncomfortable, and the stability of walking is reduced. In this paper, we developed a two degrees of freedom (2DoF) ankle exoskeleton robot with a subtalar joint and a talocrural joint, applying a four-bar linkage to realize the anatomical movement of a simple 1DoF structure mainly used for ankles. However, bidirectional tendon-driven actuators (BTDAs) do not consider the difference in a length change of both cables due to dorsiflexion (DF) and plantar flexion (PF) during walking, causing misalignment. To solve this problem, a BTDA was developed by considering the length change of both cables. Cable-driven actuators and exoskeleton robot systems create uncertainty. Accordingly, adaptive control was performed with a proportional-integral-differential neural network (PIDNN) controller to minimize system uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Actuators on Soft Exoskeletons)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling and Test of an Integrated Magnetic Spring-Eddy Current Damper for Space Applications
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010008 - 02 Jan 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
We present the design, manufacturing, and dynamical characterization of a mechanical suspension made by a passive magnetic spring and an eddy current damper integrated into a single device. Three configurations with 2, 3, and 4 permanent magnets axially distributed with opposite polarizations are [...] Read more.
We present the design, manufacturing, and dynamical characterization of a mechanical suspension made by a passive magnetic spring and an eddy current damper integrated into a single device. Three configurations with 2, 3, and 4 permanent magnets axially distributed with opposite polarizations are designed, simulated, manufactured, and tested. Stiffness of 2410, 2050, 2090 N/m and damping coefficient of 5.45, 10.52 and 17.25 Ns/m are measured for the 2-, 3-, and 4-magnets configurations, respectively. The magnetic suspension provides good mechanical properties combined with excellent cleanness and high reliability, which is very desirable in mechanical systems for space applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptive Shell Spherical Reflector Actuated with PVDF-TrFE Thin Film Strain Actuators
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 7; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010007 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 511
Abstract
This paper discusses the design and manufacturing of a thin polymer spherical adaptive reflector of diameter D=200 mm, controlled by an array of 25 independent electrodes arranged in a keystone configuration actuating a thin film of PVDF-TrFE in d31-mode. [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the design and manufacturing of a thin polymer spherical adaptive reflector of diameter D=200 mm, controlled by an array of 25 independent electrodes arranged in a keystone configuration actuating a thin film of PVDF-TrFE in d31-mode. The 5 μm layer of electrostrictive material is spray-coated. The results of the present study confirm that the active material can be modelled by a unidirectional quadratic model and that excellent properties can be achieved if the material is properly annealed. The experimental influence functions of the control electrodes are determined by a quasi-static harmonic technique; they are in good agreement with the numerical simulations and their better circular symmetry indicates a clear improvement in the manufacturing process, as compared to a previous study. The low order optical modes can be reconstructed by combining the 25 influence functions; a regularization technique is used to alleviate the ill-conditioning of the Jacobian and allow to approximate the optical modes with reasonable voltages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the SCIE Coverage)
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Open AccessArticle
A Soft 3D-Printed Robotic Hand Actuated by Coiled SMA
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 6; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010006 - 29 Dec 2020
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Robotic hands with unique designs, capabilities and applications have been presented in the literature focusing on sensing, actuation, control, powering and manufacturing, most of which are created by manual assembly process. However, due to advancements in additive manufacturing, new capabilities have replaced traditional [...] Read more.
Robotic hands with unique designs, capabilities and applications have been presented in the literature focusing on sensing, actuation, control, powering and manufacturing, most of which are created by manual assembly process. However, due to advancements in additive manufacturing, new capabilities have replaced traditional methods of manufacturing. In this paper, we present a soft 3D-printed robotic hand actuated by custom-made coiled shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators. The hand uses additive manufacturing of flexible thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material, which allows flexing at the joint and hence eliminates the need for additional assembly. Here, we present the full characteristics of the robotic hand such as object grasping categorized by size and weight from the ARAT kit and others. The robotic hand is 425 mm in length, weighs 235 g and is able to operate at a frequency of 0.125 Hz without active cooling. It can grasp an object of 55–81 mm widths, weighing up to 133 g, while consuming an average power of 7.82 W. We also show the time domain response of our custom-made coiled SMA to different current inputs, and its corresponding force and displacement. The current design yields a lightweight and low cost artificial hand with significantly simplified manufacturing for applications in robotics and prosthetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of a Haptic Actuator Made with Magneto-Rheological Fluids for Haptic Shoes Applications
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 5; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010005 - 29 Dec 2020
Viewed by 428
Abstract
This paper presents a magneto-rheological (MR) actuator that can be easily inserted into haptic shoes and can haptically simulate the material properties of the ground. To increase the resistive force of the proposed actuator, we designed a movable piston having multiple operation modes [...] Read more.
This paper presents a magneto-rheological (MR) actuator that can be easily inserted into haptic shoes and can haptically simulate the material properties of the ground. To increase the resistive force of the proposed actuator, we designed a movable piston having multiple operation modes of MR fluids. Further, the design of a solenoid coil was optimized to maximize the resistive force in a limited-sized MR actuator. Simulations were conducted to predict the actuation performance and to show that the magnetic flux flows well by forming a closed loop in the proposed actuator. The quantitative evaluation of the proposed actuator was investigated by measuring the resistive force as a function of the input current and its pressed depth. From the result, we found that the proposed actuator can create over 600 N by adjusting the input current. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the SCIE Coverage)
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Open AccessArticle
Design of a Low-Frequency Harmonic Rotary Piezoelectric Actuator
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010004 - 27 Dec 2020
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Piezoelectric actuators usually operate under a high frequency driving signal. Here we report a harmonic rotating piezoelectric actuator by coupling a harmonic wave generator and a friction rotor, in which the actuator can be actuated by a low-frequency sinusoidal signal with positive bias. [...] Read more.
Piezoelectric actuators usually operate under a high frequency driving signal. Here we report a harmonic rotating piezoelectric actuator by coupling a harmonic wave generator and a friction rotor, in which the actuator can be actuated by a low-frequency sinusoidal signal with positive bias. The harmonic wave is generated by a two-stage magnifying mechanism consisting of a displacement amplifier and a harmonic rod. Applying piezoelectricity theory, the actuator’s output characteristic equations are deduced. What is more, the output characteristics of piezoelectric actuators are tested with the established experimental system. Results show that the generated harmonic displacements can drive the actuator to work normally at a driving voltage of larger than 90 V and the maximum total harmonic displacement of the piezoelectric actuator comes up to 427.6 μm under the driving voltage of 150 V. Meanwhile, the error between the measured and calculated values of the harmonic displacement is less than 7%. Furthermore, the rotational speed of the piezoelectric actuator reaches 5.45 rpm/min at 150 V voltage and 5 Hz driving frequency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Miniaturized and Micro Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle
A Sliding Mode Control Strategy for an ElectroHydrostatic Actuator with Damping Variable Sliding Surface
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 3; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010003 - 25 Dec 2020
Viewed by 428
Abstract
Electro-hydrostatic actuator (EHA) has significance in a variety of industrial tasks. For the purpose of elevating the working performance, we put forward a sliding mode control strategy for EHA operation with a damping variable sliding surface. To start with, a novel sliding mode [...] Read more.
Electro-hydrostatic actuator (EHA) has significance in a variety of industrial tasks. For the purpose of elevating the working performance, we put forward a sliding mode control strategy for EHA operation with a damping variable sliding surface. To start with, a novel sliding mode controller and an extended state observer (ESO) are established to perform the proposed control strategy. Furthermore, based on the modeling of the EHA, simulations are carried out to analyze the working properties of the controller. More importantly, experiments are conducted for performance evaluation based on the simulation results. In comparison to the widely used control strategies, the experimental results establish strong evidence of both overshoot suppression and system rapidity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Actuators for Manufacturing Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Sense–Analyze–Respond–Actuate (SARA) Paradigm: Proof of Concept System Spanning Nanoscale and Macroscale Actuation for Detection of Escherichia coli in Aqueous Media
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010002 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
Foodborne pathogens are a major concern for public health. We demonstrate for the first time a partially automated sensing system for rapid (~17 min), label-free impedimetric detection of Escherichia coli spp. in food samples (vegetable broth) and hydroponic media (aeroponic lettuce system) based [...] Read more.
Foodborne pathogens are a major concern for public health. We demonstrate for the first time a partially automated sensing system for rapid (~17 min), label-free impedimetric detection of Escherichia coli spp. in food samples (vegetable broth) and hydroponic media (aeroponic lettuce system) based on temperature-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) nanobrushes. This proof of concept (PoC) for the Sense-Analyze-Respond-Actuate (SARA) paradigm uses a biomimetic nanostructure that is analyzed and actuated with a smartphone. The bio-inspired soft material and sensing mechanism is inspired by binary symbiotic systems found in nature, where low concentrations of bacteria are captured from complex matrices by brush actuation driven by concentration gradients at the tissue surface. To mimic this natural actuation system, carbon-metal nanohybrid sensors were fabricated as the transducer layer, and coated with PNIPAAm nanobrushes. The most effective coating and actuation protocol for E. coli detection at various temperatures above/below the critical solution temperature of PNIPAAm was determined using a series of electrochemical experiments. After analyzing nanobrush actuation in stagnant media, we developed a flow through system using a series of pumps that are triggered by electrochemical events at the surface of the biosensor. SARA PoC may be viewed as a cyber-physical system that actuates nanomaterials using smartphone-based electroanalytical testing of samples. This study demonstrates thermal actuation of polymer nanobrushes to detect (sense) bacteria using a cyber-physical systems (CPS) approach. This PoC may catalyze the development of smart sensors capable of actuation at the nanoscale (stimulus-response polymer) and macroscale (non-microfluidic pumping). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniature and Micro-Actuators)
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Open AccessArticle
A Boom Energy Regeneration System of Hybrid Hydraulic Excavator Using Energy Conversion Components
Actuators 2021, 10(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/act10010001 - 22 Dec 2020
Viewed by 454
Abstract
In this paper, a novel design of an energy regeneration system was proposed for recovering as well as reusing potential energy in a boom cylinder. The proposed system included a hydraulic pump/motor and an electrical motor/generator. When the boom moved down, the energy [...] Read more.
In this paper, a novel design of an energy regeneration system was proposed for recovering as well as reusing potential energy in a boom cylinder. The proposed system included a hydraulic pump/motor and an electrical motor/generator. When the boom moved down, the energy regeneration components converted the hydraulic energy to electrical energy and stored in a battery. Then, the regenerated energy was reused at subsequent cycles. In addition, an energy management strategy has been designed based on discrete time-optimal control to guarantee position tracking performance and ensure component safety during the operation. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed system, a co-simulation (using MATLAB and AMESim) was carried out. Through the simulation results, the maximum energy regeneration efficiency could achieve up to 44%. Besides, the velocity and position of the boom cylinder achieved good performance with the proposed control strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Fluid Power Systems and Actuators)
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