Modeling the Bending Behavior of Fiber-Reinforced Pneumatic Actuators Using a Pseudo-Rigid-Body Model

Sreeshankar Satheeshbabu, Girish Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fiber reinforced elastomeric enclosures (FREEs) are soft pneumatic representative elements that can form the basis for building soft self-actuating structures/mechanisms. When placed in different configurations, they exhibit unique stroke amplification characteristics that can be leveraged to create interesting deformation patterns. Such deformations occur as a combination of axial and bending deflection due to internal pressurization and external forces. This paper presents a lumped reduced-order model that enables quick and accurate analysis of mechanisms made from FREEs grouped as a system. The model proposed is a modified four-spring pseudo-rigid-body (PRB) model that effectively captures the axial and bending stiffnesses of contracting FREEs. Parametric estimation of the model is performed using a multistart optimization routine to fit the PRB model with results from experiments and finite element analysis (FEA). The model is also generalized and statistically verified for FREEs with different fiber angles, length-to-diameter ratios, and different actuation pressures. Finally, efficacy of the approach is validated through three case studies that involve a planar arrangement of FREEs at different orientations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031011
JournalJournal of Mechanisms and Robotics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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