Mechanical Characterisation of Woven Pneumatic Active Textile

Ruby Marshall, Jean-Baptiste R. G. Souppez, Mariya Khan, Ignazio Maria Viola, Hiroyuki Nabae, Koichi Suzumori, Adam A. Stokes, Francesco Giorgio-Serchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Active textiles have shown promising applications in soft robotics owing to their tunable stiffness and design flexibility. Given the breadth of the design space for planar and spatial arrangements of these woven structures, a rigorous and generalizable characterisation of these systems is not yet available. In order to characterize the response of a stereotypical woven pattern to actuation, we undertake a parametric study of plain weave active fabrics and characterise their mechanical properties in accordance with the relevant ISO standards for varying muscle densities and both monotonically increasing/decreasing pressures. Tensile and flexural tests were undertaken on five plain weave samples made of a nylon 6 (polyamide) warp and EM20 McKibben S-muscle weft, for input pressures ranging from 0.00 MPa to 0.60 MPa, at three muscle densities, namely 100 m$^{-1}$, 74.26 m$^{-1}$ and 47.62 m$^{-1}$. Contrary to intuition, a lower muscle density has a more prominent impact on the thickness, but a significantly lesser one on length, highlighting critical dependency on the relative orientation among the loading, the passive textile and the muscle filaments. Hysteretic behaviour as large as 10% of the longitudinal contraction is observed on individual filaments and woven textiles, and its onset is identified in the shear between the rubber tube and the outer sleeve of the artificial muscle. Hysteresis is shown to be muscle density-dependent and responsible for strongly asymmetrical response upon different pressure inputs. These findings provide new insights into the mechanical properties of active textiles with tunable stiffness, and may contribute to future developments in wearable technologies and biomedical devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10081469
Pages (from-to)2804-2811
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number5
Early online date27 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Textiles
  • Muscles
  • Weaving
  • Robots
  • Robot sensing systems
  • Protocols
  • ISO Standards


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