Abstract / Description of output
Pulsatile flow is widespread in nature, but replicating such impulsive periodic pumping routines with traditional rotary actuators is complex and energetically inefficient. We demonstrate the feasibility of an actuator capable of generating impulsive flow displacement by exploiting the bistable equilibrium of a simple mechanism. These kind of mechanisms, commonly known as snap-through mechanisms, offer the benefit of sudden release of elastic energy at the interface between two stable structural configurations. This property has been employed in certain actuators to drive abrupt motions of mechanical systems. Here, we use this principle to drive an inflation/deflation routine of a fluid-filled cavity, thus generating a peaked, pulsatile flow, comparable to that encountered in biological systems. Assessment of the various stages of actuation of this system shows that a sharp drop in the energy occurs from elastic to hydraulic work, highlighting the need for improved design elements involved in this stage of the actuation.