Hot Fingers: Individually Addressable Graphene-Heater Actuated Liquid Crystal Grippers

L.S. van Hazendonk, Zafeiris Khalil, L.E.A. Wijkhuijs, Ingeborg Schreur-Piet, Michael G. Debije (Corresponding author), Heiner Friedrich (Corresponding author)

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Liquid crystal-based actuators are receiving increased attention for their applications in wearables and biomedical or surgical devices, with selective actuation of individual parts/fingers still being in its infancy. This work presents the design and realization of two gripper devices with four individually addressable liquid-crystal network (LCN) actuators thermally driven via printed graphene-based heating elements. The resistive heat causes the all-organic actuator to bend due to anisotropic volume expansions of the splay-aligned sample. A heat transfer model that includes all relevant interfaces is presented and verified via thermal imaging, which provides good estimates of dimensions, power production, and resistance required to reach the desired temperature for actuation while maintaining safe electrical potentials. The LCN films displace up to 11 mm with a bending force of 1.10 mN upon application of 0–15 V potentials. The robustness of the LCN finger is confirmed by repetitive on/off switching for 500 cycles. Actuators are assembled into two prototypes able to grip and lift objects of small weights (70–100 mg) and perform complex actions by individually controlling one of the device’s fingers to grip an additional object. Selective actuation of parts in soft robotic devices will enable more complex motions and actions to be performed.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)32739–32747
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Nummer van het tijdschrift25
StatusGepubliceerd - 26 jun. 2024


Horizon 2020 Framework Programme881603


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