Concept and Prototype of Soft Actuator for Liquid Nitrogen Temperature Environments
Daisuke Yamaguchi*, Tatsuya Hanaki**, Yuji Ishino**, Masayuki Hara**, Masaya Takasaki**, and Takeshi Mizuno**
1-1-1 Tsushima-naka, Kita-ku, Okayama 700-8530, Japan
255 Shimo-Okubo, Sakura-ku, Saitama 338-8570, Japan
A prototype of a soft actuator for extreme environments was fabricated, and driven in a cryogenic temperature environment. Previous soft actuators cannot be used for robots in extreme environments because resin, the main fabrication material, exhibits weak environmental characteristics. Therefore, this study proposes the application of polyimide (PI) films to soft actuators. PI is characterized by excellent environmental resistance. However, the welding of PI is difficult because of its high resistance. In this study, a welding method was developed for PI films. This method does not require pretreatment, or the use of adhesives or additives to reduce resistance. Hence, an actuator that utilizes all the characteristics of PI was realized. The actuator was characterized in a cryogenic environment, which is one of the extreme environments, and was successfully driven at a liquid nitrogen temperature of 78 K. This proposed technology is not limited to cryogenic environments and is expected to provide extreme environmental resistance to existing soft robots.
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