Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor/Mentor

Tung, Steve

Committee Member/Reader

Davis, James

Abstract

In this thesis, research is conducted in the area of soft robotics by building a soft tadpole that can deform with a specific air pressure. The goal is to mimic the motion of an organic tadpole in respect to its S-shaped tail movement. The angle of deformation, derived from material mechanic theories, ranges from 45 to 80 degrees for this type of movement. The design includes a head compartment which acts as a tank to transfer nitrogen pressure and a tail section that receives the said pressure and bends as a result. The tail section was designed with two rows of air channels within a rectangular cross-section. Nitrogen that is pumped in the top row will cause the empty bottom row to deform and create movement. The material assigned to the tail section is silicone due to its flexible and water repellant properties. In order to print the tail, a Wanhao printer was transformed into a 3D printer that produces silicone in its uncured state. After many attempts to create a tail design that bends under pressure, a final rectangular cross-section with 8 channels in each row was achieved. However, when this design was tested, the angles of deformation did not match the theoretical values. This is due to a great amount of error in the design and printing stage of the process. In the end, the tadpole was able to bend into a C-shape formation and somewhat imitate the slow swimming movement of its organic counterpart.

Keywords

soft robotics, silicone, elastomer, 3D print, deformation

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