Fuel-Powered Artificial Muscles for the Robotic Soldier
Final rept. 1 Jun 2004-31 Aug 2006
TEXAS UNIV AT DALLAS RICHARDSON
Pagination or Media Count:
Two types of novel actuators that are powered by high-energy-density fuels hydrogen, methanol, or formic acid fuel combined with air or oxygen have been experimentally demonstrated in this program. The first type uses a carbon nanotube electrode that simultaneously functions as a muscle, a fuel cell electrode and a supercapacitor electrode. The result is a muscle that converts the chemical energy in the fuel to electrical energy and can use this electrical energy for actuation, store it, or potentially use it for other energy needs of a more complex system. The second type functions as a shorted fuel cell comprising a shape memory alloy, in which the chemical energy in a fuel converts to thermal energy that powers actuation. While the second type of fuel cell muscle provides the most powerful demonstration of the importance of this technology, the first type of fuel cell muscle provides a broader indication of technology scope. Our highest demonstrated actuator stroke and power densities for fuel cell muscles are comparable to natural skeletal muscle, and the generated stresses are over a hundred times higher than for natural muscle. Important information on temperature distribution in the muscles powered by methanol vaporair mixture was obtained using thermal infrared imaging.
- Non-electrical Energy Conversion
- Electrochemical Energy Storage