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Development and analysis of grasshopper-like jumping mechanism in biomimetic approach

Konez Eroğlu, Aylin
Highly effective and power efficient biological mechanisms are common in nature. The use of biological design principles in engineering domain requires adequate training in both engineering and biological domains. This requires cooperation between biologists and engineers that leads to a new discipline of biomimetic science and engineering. Biomimetic is the abstraction of good design from nature. Because of the fact that biomimetic design has an important place in mechatronic applications, this study is directed towards biomimetic design of grasshopper-like jumping mechanism. A biomimetic design procedure is developed and steps of the procedure have followed through all the study. A literature survey on jumping mechanisms of grasshoppers and jumping robots and bio-robots are done and specifically apteral types of grasshoppers are observed. After the inspections, 2D and 3D mathematical models are developed representing the kinematics and dynamics of the hind leg movements. Body-femur, femur-tibia and tibia-ground angles until take-off are obtained from the mathematical leg models. The force analysis of the leg models with artificial muscles and biological muscles are derived from the torque analysis. A simulation program is used with a simple model for verification. The horizontal displacement of jumping is compared with the data obtained from the simulation program and equation of motion solutions with and without air resistance. Actuators are the muscles of robots that lead robots to move and have an important place in robotics. In this scope, artificial muscles are studied as a fourth step of biomimetic design. A few ready-made artificial muscles were selected as an actuator of the grasshopper-like jumping mechanism at the beginning of the study. Because of their disadvantages, a new artificial muscle is designed and manufactured for mini bio-robot applications. An artificial muscle is designed to be driven by an explosion obtained due to the voltage applied in a piston and cylinder system filled with dielectric fluid. A 3.78-mm diameter Teflon piston is fitted with a clearance into a Teflon cylinder filled with a 25.7- mm fluid height and maximum 225 V is applied to the electrodes by using an electrical discharge machine (EDM) circuit. The force on the piston is measured by using a set-up of Kistler piezoelectric low level force sensor. The data obtained from the sensor is captured by using an oscilloscope, a charge meter, and a GPIB connecting card with software, Agilent. From the experiments, the new artificial muscle force is about 300 mN giving a 38:1 force to weight ratio and percentage elongation is expected to be higher than that of the natural muscles and the other artificial muscles. From the force analysis of the leg model, it is shown that the measured force is not enough alone for jumping of an about 500 mgr body. An additional artificial muscle or a single muscle designed with the same operating principle giving higher force to weight ratio is recommended as a future study.