Investigation into Bladder Material in Fabric-Based Pneumatic Actuators
Research was done on actuators for a soft robotic glove that could assist children with cerebral palsy with at-home hand physical therapy. Materials in the construction of fabric-based soft pneumatic actuators were evaluated for this purpose. Three different bladder types (TPE impulse sealed bladders, condoms, and modeling balloons) were tested. The straightening and bending force each actuator could produce as well as the shape the actuator formed when unrestrained were analyzed. The results indicated that condoms and modeling balloons are superior to TPE bladders for the use as bending bladders. All bladder types performed well as straightening bladders so any could be chosen depending on the desired quantitative values such as the straightening force and force-to-pressure relationship. Further research is needed into the durability of each bladder type and into attachment methods of each bladder to prevent air leaking.