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17 April 2017 Position control of twisted and coiled polymer actuator using a controlled fan for cooling
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Recently, artificial muscles made of fishing lines or sewing threads, namely twisted and coiled polymer actuators (TCPAs), have been proposed by Haines et al. A TCPA contracts by applying heat and returns to its initial length by cooling. A TCPA can be driven by voltage if the TCPA is plated by metal or if conductive wire such as nichrome is wound around it. Compared with the conventional electroactive polymers, advantages of TCPAs are low cost, simple structure, large actuation strain, and large force. However, a big disadvantage of TCPAs is slow response due to heat transfer. The problem becomes apparent during cooling, although the response of heating can be improved by feedback control. This paper proposes a control method of switching heating and cooling. In the proposed method, a TCPA is cooled by an electric cooling fan. When the TCPA is heating, the cooling fan is stopped. In a previous report, the response speed can be improved by keeping cooling fan always on; however, unnecessary energy consumption is required even during heating. In the proposed method, energy consumption during heating does not increase and the response speed can be improved using fan only during cooling. The proposed control law is as follows. Firstly, the desired control input is determined by PI-D control with respect to the length of the actuator. Then, the control inputs to the heater and to the cooling fan are switched according to the sign of the PI-D controller output. The effectiveness of the proposed control method is demonstrated by comparing the cases with and without the cooling fan in the experiments.
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Kentaro Takagi, Takeshi Arakawa, Jun Takeda, Ken Masuya, Kenji Tahara, and Kinji Asaka "Position control of twisted and coiled polymer actuator using a controlled fan for cooling", Proc. SPIE 10163, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017, 101632V (17 April 2017);

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