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Biomimetic Beetle-Inspired Flapping Air Vehicle Actuated by Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuator

Biomimetic Beetle-Inspired Flapping Air Vehicle Actuated by Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuator Hindawi Applied Bionics and Biomechanics Volume 2018, Article ID 3091579, 7 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3091579 Research Article Biomimetic Beetle-Inspired Flapping Air Vehicle Actuated by Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuator 1 1 1 1 1 1 Yang Zhao, Di Xu, Jiazheng Sheng, Qinglong Meng, Dezhi Wu, Lingyun Wang, 1 1,2 1 1 Jingjing Xiao, Wenlong Lv, Qinnan Chen , and Daoheng Sun Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China Pen-Tung Sah Institute of Micro-Nano Science and Technology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China Correspondence should be addressed to Qinnan Chen; chenqinnan@xmu.edu.cn Received 3 November 2017; Accepted 17 January 2018; Published 27 February 2018 Academic Editor: QingSong He Copyright © 2018 Yang Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. During the last decades, the ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) received much attention because of its potential capabilities, such as large displacement and flexible bending actuation. In this paper, a biomimetic flapping air vehicle was proposed by combining the superiority of ionic polymer metal composite with the bionic beetle flapping principle. The blocking force was compared between casted IPMC and IPMC. The flapping state of the wing was investigated and the maximum displacement and flapping angle were measured. The flapping displacement under different voltage and frequency was tested. The flapping displacement of the wing and the support reaction force were measured under different frequency by experiments. The experimental results indicate that the high voltage and low frequency would get large flapping displacement. 1. Introduction composite (IPMCC) actuator composed of a multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/Nafion membrane sandwiched Ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) is a new type of between two hybrid electrodes, composed of palladium, electroactive polymer material, which can produce large- platinum, and MWCNTs. The V-I characteristics indicate size deformation under the excitation of electric field [1]. that the change in shape becomes significant at amplitudes Since the mechanical properties and actuating characteristics higher than 1.2 V [9]. Chen et al. proposed a novel synthesis of IPMC are very similar to biological muscle, it is also called technique to fabricate hybrid IPMC membrane actuator “artificial muscle” [2]. Notable advantages of IPMC include capable of generating 3-dimensional (3D) kinematic motions. By controlling each individual IPMC beams, complex 3D low driving voltage, relatively large strain, and soft and lightweight mechanisms. It has good prospect and develop- motions could be generated [10]. Zhao et al. developed a ment potential in the fields of bionic robot, sensor, and energy gradient structure of Nafion in thickness to improve the per- harvesting [3]. In the past, bionic flapping air vehicles were formance of IPMC. The results of the experiments indicate mostly constructed of rigid materials, which were complex, that the gradient structure would improve the performance inefficient, and heavy in weight [4, 5]. Due to the unique both in deformation displacement and blocking force [11]. performance of the IPMC, it is being tried to be applied to Caponetto et al. proposed an enhanced fractional-order flapping mechanism [6]. It is not only easy to control the transfer function (FOTF) model for IPMC membrane mechanism by IPMC but also more similar to the biological working as actuator [12]. He analyzed the effects of the flexibility [7]. Biomimetic flapping wing mechanisms are thickness on the performance of IPMC with an electrome- used for a deeper understanding of flapping flight [8]. chanical model. As the thickness increases, the elastic In the last decades, many researchers concentrated modulus of Nafion membrane and the blocking force of on fabrication, modeling, and bionic application of IPMC. IPMC increase, but the current and the displacement He developed an ionic polymer-metal-carbon nanotube decrease [13]. Shen et al. proposed a hybrid biomimetic 2 Applied Bionics and Biomechanics underwater vehicle that uses IPMCs as sensors. Propelled by the energy of waves, the underwater vehicle does not need an additional energy source [14]. Shi et al. developed a proto- type movable robotic Venus flytrap and evaluated its walking and rotating speeds by using different applied sig- nal voltages [15]. Otis presented the electromechanical characterization of Nafion-Pt microlegs for the develop- ment of an insect-like hexapod BioMicroRobot (BMR). Figure 1: Wings of beetle. BMR microlegs are built using quasi-cylindrical Nafion-Pt ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC), which has 2.5 Flexible wings degrees of freedom [16]. The thrust performance of a biomi- metic robotic swimmer that uses IPMC as a flexible actuator in viscous and inertial flow was studied by Shen et al. A hydrodynamic model based on the elongated body theory was developed [17]. Helical IPMC actuators are newly developed to control the radius of biomedical active stents Ventral by Li et al. The helix-shaped IPMC actuator was fabricated Longitudinal muscle through the thermal treatment of an IPMC strip helically muscle coiled on a glass rod. The helical IPMC actuator can be used Figure 2: Schematic of beetle flapping bionics. to realize not only bending motion but also torsional and longitudinal motion [18]. Akle et al. presented the design and development of an underwater jellyfish-like robot using support reaction force of flapping mechanism were per- IPMC as propulsion actuators. A water-based IPMC demon- formed and the concept of biomimetic flapping air vehicle strates a fast strain rate of 1%/s but small peak strain of 0.3% actuated by IPMC is shown feasible. and high current of 200 mA/cm [19]. Lee presented a trade- off design and fabrication of IPMC as an actuator for a 2. Beetle-Inspired Flapping Mechanism Design flapping device. The internal solvent loss of IPMCs had been conducted for various combinations of cation and solvent in Beetle flight depends on the control of the chest elastic move- order to find out the best combination of cation and solvent ment and the force acting on the wings, as shown in Figure 1. for minimal solvent loss and higher actuation force [20]. The flapping way of the wings is similar to a tuning fork Colozza discusses the development of a new aircraft based resonance effect. A beetle does not directly flap its wings, on a bird’s flying principle. Rather than a metal framework but it uses alternating movement of two groups of chest covered by riveted plates and hydraulically actuated parts, muscle to produce deformation, as shown in Figure 2. ionic polymer-metal composite was proposed to be applied Through this way, the wings and chest resonate to produce to the plane’s body and wings [21]. Kim et al. developed a high-frequency large flapping cycle. flapping actuator module operated at the resonant frequency The flapping wings of the insects have two kinds of by using an IPMC actuator. The performances of the IPMC motions: the longitudinal stroke and the rotation of the actuators, including the deformation, blocking force, and wings. In this study, we just consider the stroke of wings natural frequency, were obtained according to the input [24, 25]. When the wing flaps, the angular velocity of stroking voltage and IPMC dimensions. The empirical performance ω is not exactly a simple harmonic motion but a complicated model and the equivalent stiffness model of the IPMC actua- nonlinear motion. In the process of acceleration and deceler- tor are established [22]. Mukherjee and Ganguli used an ation, ω t can be treated as simple harmonic motion. energy-based variational approach for structural dynamic modeling of the IPMC flapping wing. An optimization study tπ was performed to obtain improved flapping actuation of the ω sin , t ∈ 0, 0 5Δt , m s Δt IPMC wing. The optimization algorithm leads to a flapping wing with dimensions similar to the dragonfly Aeshna multi- ω , t ∈ 0 5Δt ,0 5T − 0 5Δt , m s s color’s wing [23]. With the development of IPMC, it has a ω t ω sin 0 5T − 0 5t , t ∈ 0 5T − 0 5Δt ,0 5T +0 5Δt , wide prospect in bionic robot and other applications. But s m s s Δt applying IPMC in flapping air vehicle has lack of study. −ω , t ∈ 0 5T +0 5Δt , T − 0 5Δt , Due to the unique performance of the IPMC, it can be m s s suitably used in the bionic flapping actuation. π ω sin t − T , t ∈ T − 0 5Δt , T , m s By combing the principle of bionics of beetle flapping, a Δt biomimetic beetle-inspired flapping air vehicle was proposed ω = , in this work. The flapping mechanism was fabricated by m 2Δt / π +0 5T − Δt s s casted IPMC. The flapping state of beetle-inspired air vehicle was used to analyze the flapping displacement and angle of the wing. The regularity of flapping displacement was investigated under different conditions. Experiments of where θ is the angle amplitude of flapping wing. m Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 3 In the design process of the beetle-inspired flapping mechanism, a 50 mm long, 10 mm wide, and 420 μm thick IPMC was selected for the actuation because the primary concerns are actuation force and response speed. As shown in Figure 3, the skeleton of flapping mechanism was made of PET film, the wings were made of PVC film, and the size of the wing is 42 mm in length and 15 mm in width. The wing was fixed on the outer surface of PET skeleton by free hinge joint. The IPMC actuator was gripped by a clamp at one side and attached the wings at another side to transfer the actua- Figure 3: Beetle-inspired flapping mechanism. tion force from the IPMC actuator to the wing. Therefore, the bending motion of the IPMC actuator would produce the flapping motion of the beetle-inspired mechanism. An electromechanical modeling was established for IPMC based on thermodynamics theory [26, 27]. The deformation of IPMC under the combined effect of force field and electric field is as follows: 1 M M + M m e = = 2 ρ YI YI z z The moment M by force is described as YI YI z z M = − M = − BE, 3 m e ρ ρ Figure 4: Casted IPMC sample. where ρ is the curvature radius after bending deformation, M is the moment by force, and M is the moment by electri- m e cal field. Y is the elastic modulus of IPMC and I is the dipped into H SO (0.5%). Second, the film was dipped into 2 4 moment of inertia of cross section to z-axis. E is the electric the solution of [Pt(NH ) ]Cl (3 mg/mm ) for about 12 hours 3 4 2 field and B is the bending coefficient of IPMC and is propor- to accomplish ion exchange. Third, the platinum complex tional to the square of the length and linearly proportional to cations were reduced to the metallic state by using the reduc- the width and thickness of IPMC. Besides, it is also related to ing agents NaBH (5%); the reaction temperature was from the conductivity of the sample and the diffusion rate of the 40 to 60 C. The electrode of Pt was deposited on the surface ions used. of the film. Fourth, the film was prepared for the second reduction reaction by rinsing in ultrasonic cleaners after the 3. Experiments first reduction reaction. Fifth, the solution of hydrazine hydrate (20%) and the solution of hydroxylammonium 3.1. Fabrication of Casted IPMC. The performance of the chloride (5%) were used to perform the second reduction as IPMC varies with its thickness, such as deformation and the reducing agents. After this reduction, the IPMC sample blocking force. Thick IPMC was chosen for the actuation of was fabricated, as shown in Figure 4. Finally, the IPMC the beetle-inspired mechanism. To achieve the desired thick sample was rinsed with deionized water and stored in a Nafion film, the casting method with Nafion dispersion from solution of LiCl for experiment [11]. DuPont™ was used to fabricate the IPMC in this study. Nafion dispersion and dimethylformamide (DMF) were poured together to cast the Nafion film. The proportion of 3.2. Experimental Setup. Since the main performance charac- Nafion and DMF is 4 : 1. The use of DMF is to prevent surface teristic of flapping air vehicle is the flapping displacement of cracks in solidified Nafion during solvent evaporation. The the wing, the flapping displacement measurement system mixed solution was stirred with a magnetic stirrer to make was established. The experimental setup of the flapping the solution homogeneous. The solution is then placed in a displacement measurement system is shown in Figure 5. constant-temperature drying oven. The solvent was fully The beetle-inspired flapping air vehicle was placed in front evaporated at 70 of the coordinate paper (1mm ∗1mm per grid); the actuated C in the oven. It takes almost 18 hours to form the film. The Nafion film was conserved in deionized flapping process was captured by digital camera; and the water. The electrodes of Pt attached to both sides of the flapping displacement data of the wing was acquired by a Nafion film were fabricated by electroless plating. First, num- laser displacement sensor (LK-080). ber 1500 sandpaper was used to roughen the surface of the The experimental setup of the blocking force measure- ment system was also established, as shown in Figure 6. film along one direction. It was used to increase the interfacial area to make the electrode material deposits. Then The blocking force was measured by a load cell (XH10-5 g) the film was rinsed chemically with H SO (0.5%) and H O and data acquisition was done by using National Instru- 2 4 2 2 (15%) solution, rinsed with boiled deionized water, and ments™ PXI system with PXIe-6361 (DAQ). 4 Applied Bionics and Biomechanics Laser displacement Computer sensor CCD camera Flapping air vehicle Power source Figure 5: Displacement measurement system. 2.5 Power source Computer 1.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 Voltage (V) Flapping air vehicle Data acquisition IPMC Casted IPMC Figure 7: Blocking force of IPMC and casted IPMC. snapshots of flapping mechanism is shown in Figure 8. The mechanism was actuated by 4.5 V in a 0.5 Hz frequency Load cell Transmitter sinusoidal wave input voltage. Take one snapshot per 0.5 Figure 6: Force measurement system. second. As shown in Figure 8(a), the wings of the mechanism were at the lowest position at 0 second. Then the wings flap in 4. Results and Discussion an upstroke position. The highest position of upstroke is at 1 second. After the downstroke of the flapping wings, the wings return to the original position at 2 seconds to finish The IPMC actuator of beetle-inspired air vehicle was fabri- cated by a casted Nafion membrane. The thickness of IPMC one upstroke and downstroke cycle. From Figure 8, the by the casted Nafion was 420 μm. Driven by 0–4.5 V DC, the maximum tip displacements of the wing is exceeding blocking force of IPMC fabricated by the casted Nafion was 10 mm; the maximum flapping angle is 12.5 degrees. compared with IPMC fabricated by a commercial Nafion- Figure 9 shows the results of the wing displacements 117 in Figure 7. It can be found that the blocking force of of beetle-inspired air vehicle under different voltage and IPMC by casted Nafion is larger than IPMC fabricated by frequency. The displacements of the wing keep increasing Nafion-117; the IPMC by casted Nafion can create 2.4 grams with the increase in the actuation voltage. Meanwhile, the of force for 4 V DC. It is suitable for the actuation of a displacements of the wing keep decreasing with the increase flapping wing than IPMC fabricated by Nafion-117. in the actuation frequency. The reason is that the driving The wings of the beetle-inspired air vehicle flap in voltage increases and the blocking force of IPMC increases upstroke and downstroke when AC voltage is applied. The under the same frequency, so the displacements of the wing front view of the flapping motion of the beetle-inspired air generated by the IPMC increase. Under the same driving vehicle was recorded by CCD camera. The consecutive voltage, the driving frequency decreases and the driving time Blocking force (g) Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 5 (a) 0 s (b) 0.5 s (c) 1 s (d) 1.5 s (e) 2 s Figure 8: Flapping motion of the beetle-inspired air vehicle. 0.2 0.15 5 0.1 4 0.05 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 −0.05 −0.1 −0.15 3 3.5 4 4.5 −0.2 Voltage (V) Time (s) 0.5 Hz 2 Hz 1 Hz 2.5 Hz 2 V 4 V 1.5 Hz 3 Hz 3 V 5 V Figure 9: Displacements of the wing under different voltage Figure 10: Reaction force of flapping mechanism under 7 Hz, and frequency. 2–5 V AC. is lengthened; thus, the displacements increase. It can be seen sinusoidal input voltage with amplitude varying from 2 to that the maximum displacement of the wing is obtained 5 V at 1 V intervals, respectively. With the increase of under the 4.5 V in 0.5 Hz; the value is 6.4 mm. Similarly, the actuation voltage, the reaction force increases and it also flapping angle was reduced for higher input frequency. exhibits the regularity of sinusoidal input. As shown in When the actuation frequency of IPMC is close to the Figure 11, the reaction force under 7.5 Hz is larger than that resonant frequency, low-amplitude high-frequency flapping of 7 Hz and 8 Hz. It indicates that more actuation force and of the wing could be realized. As a result of frequency- high-frequency flapping could be obtained at the resonant sweeping test, the resonant frequency of the IPMC is frequency. But it can be seen from the results of the measure- 7.5 Hz. The measurement of reaction force of the support ment that the actuation force is low when AC voltage is was carried out at the resonant frequency. Figures 10–12 applied, and it is difficult to actuate the flapping wing under show the reaction force under a 7 Hz, 7.5 Hz, and 8 Hz high frequency and low voltage. Displacement (mm) Reaction force (g) 6 Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 0.2 Conflicts of Interest 0.15 The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. 0.1 Acknowledgments 0.05 0 This work is financially supported by the National Natural 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 Science Foundation of China (no. 51505401, no. 91648114, −0.05 and no. 61605163), Health-Education Joint Research Projects −0.1 of Fujian Province (no. WKJ2016-2-21), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Xiamen −0.15 University (no. 20720150082). −0.2 Time (s) References 2 V 4 V 3 V 5 V [1] C. Jo, D. Pugal, I. K. Oh, K. J. Kim, and K. Asaka, “Recent advances in ionic polymer–metal composite actuators and Figure 11: Reaction force of flapping mechanism under 7.5 Hz, their modeling and applications,” Progress in Polymer Science, 2–5 V AC. vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 1037–1066, 2013. [2] M. Shahinpoory, Y. Bar-Cohenz, J. O. Simpsonx, and J. 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Biomimetic Beetle-Inspired Flapping Air Vehicle Actuated by Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuator

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Hindawi Applied Bionics and Biomechanics Volume 2018, Article ID 3091579, 7 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3091579 Research Article Biomimetic Beetle-Inspired Flapping Air Vehicle Actuated by Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuator 1 1 1 1 1 1 Yang Zhao, Di Xu, Jiazheng Sheng, Qinglong Meng, Dezhi Wu, Lingyun Wang, 1 1,2 1 1 Jingjing Xiao, Wenlong Lv, Qinnan Chen , and Daoheng Sun Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China Pen-Tung Sah Institute of Micro-Nano Science and Technology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China Correspondence should be addressed to Qinnan Chen; chenqinnan@xmu.edu.cn Received 3 November 2017; Accepted 17 January 2018; Published 27 February 2018 Academic Editor: QingSong He Copyright © 2018 Yang Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. During the last decades, the ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) received much attention because of its potential capabilities, such as large displacement and flexible bending actuation. In this paper, a biomimetic flapping air vehicle was proposed by combining the superiority of ionic polymer metal composite with the bionic beetle flapping principle. The blocking force was compared between casted IPMC and IPMC. The flapping state of the wing was investigated and the maximum displacement and flapping angle were measured. The flapping displacement under different voltage and frequency was tested. The flapping displacement of the wing and the support reaction force were measured under different frequency by experiments. The experimental results indicate that the high voltage and low frequency would get large flapping displacement. 1. Introduction composite (IPMCC) actuator composed of a multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/Nafion membrane sandwiched Ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) is a new type of between two hybrid electrodes, composed of palladium, electroactive polymer material, which can produce large- platinum, and MWCNTs. The V-I characteristics indicate size deformation under the excitation of electric field [1]. that the change in shape becomes significant at amplitudes Since the mechanical properties and actuating characteristics higher than 1.2 V [9]. Chen et al. proposed a novel synthesis of IPMC are very similar to biological muscle, it is also called technique to fabricate hybrid IPMC membrane actuator “artificial muscle” [2]. Notable advantages of IPMC include capable of generating 3-dimensional (3D) kinematic motions. By controlling each individual IPMC beams, complex 3D low driving voltage, relatively large strain, and soft and lightweight mechanisms. It has good prospect and develop- motions could be generated [10]. Zhao et al. developed a ment potential in the fields of bionic robot, sensor, and energy gradient structure of Nafion in thickness to improve the per- harvesting [3]. In the past, bionic flapping air vehicles were formance of IPMC. The results of the experiments indicate mostly constructed of rigid materials, which were complex, that the gradient structure would improve the performance inefficient, and heavy in weight [4, 5]. Due to the unique both in deformation displacement and blocking force [11]. performance of the IPMC, it is being tried to be applied to Caponetto et al. proposed an enhanced fractional-order flapping mechanism [6]. It is not only easy to control the transfer function (FOTF) model for IPMC membrane mechanism by IPMC but also more similar to the biological working as actuator [12]. He analyzed the effects of the flexibility [7]. Biomimetic flapping wing mechanisms are thickness on the performance of IPMC with an electrome- used for a deeper understanding of flapping flight [8]. chanical model. As the thickness increases, the elastic In the last decades, many researchers concentrated modulus of Nafion membrane and the blocking force of on fabrication, modeling, and bionic application of IPMC. IPMC increase, but the current and the displacement He developed an ionic polymer-metal-carbon nanotube decrease [13]. Shen et al. proposed a hybrid biomimetic 2 Applied Bionics and Biomechanics underwater vehicle that uses IPMCs as sensors. Propelled by the energy of waves, the underwater vehicle does not need an additional energy source [14]. Shi et al. developed a proto- type movable robotic Venus flytrap and evaluated its walking and rotating speeds by using different applied sig- nal voltages [15]. Otis presented the electromechanical characterization of Nafion-Pt microlegs for the develop- ment of an insect-like hexapod BioMicroRobot (BMR). Figure 1: Wings of beetle. BMR microlegs are built using quasi-cylindrical Nafion-Pt ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC), which has 2.5 Flexible wings degrees of freedom [16]. The thrust performance of a biomi- metic robotic swimmer that uses IPMC as a flexible actuator in viscous and inertial flow was studied by Shen et al. A hydrodynamic model based on the elongated body theory was developed [17]. Helical IPMC actuators are newly developed to control the radius of biomedical active stents Ventral by Li et al. The helix-shaped IPMC actuator was fabricated Longitudinal muscle through the thermal treatment of an IPMC strip helically muscle coiled on a glass rod. The helical IPMC actuator can be used Figure 2: Schematic of beetle flapping bionics. to realize not only bending motion but also torsional and longitudinal motion [18]. Akle et al. presented the design and development of an underwater jellyfish-like robot using support reaction force of flapping mechanism were per- IPMC as propulsion actuators. A water-based IPMC demon- formed and the concept of biomimetic flapping air vehicle strates a fast strain rate of 1%/s but small peak strain of 0.3% actuated by IPMC is shown feasible. and high current of 200 mA/cm [19]. Lee presented a trade- off design and fabrication of IPMC as an actuator for a 2. Beetle-Inspired Flapping Mechanism Design flapping device. The internal solvent loss of IPMCs had been conducted for various combinations of cation and solvent in Beetle flight depends on the control of the chest elastic move- order to find out the best combination of cation and solvent ment and the force acting on the wings, as shown in Figure 1. for minimal solvent loss and higher actuation force [20]. The flapping way of the wings is similar to a tuning fork Colozza discusses the development of a new aircraft based resonance effect. A beetle does not directly flap its wings, on a bird’s flying principle. Rather than a metal framework but it uses alternating movement of two groups of chest covered by riveted plates and hydraulically actuated parts, muscle to produce deformation, as shown in Figure 2. ionic polymer-metal composite was proposed to be applied Through this way, the wings and chest resonate to produce to the plane’s body and wings [21]. Kim et al. developed a high-frequency large flapping cycle. flapping actuator module operated at the resonant frequency The flapping wings of the insects have two kinds of by using an IPMC actuator. The performances of the IPMC motions: the longitudinal stroke and the rotation of the actuators, including the deformation, blocking force, and wings. In this study, we just consider the stroke of wings natural frequency, were obtained according to the input [24, 25]. When the wing flaps, the angular velocity of stroking voltage and IPMC dimensions. The empirical performance ω is not exactly a simple harmonic motion but a complicated model and the equivalent stiffness model of the IPMC actua- nonlinear motion. In the process of acceleration and deceler- tor are established [22]. Mukherjee and Ganguli used an ation, ω t can be treated as simple harmonic motion. energy-based variational approach for structural dynamic modeling of the IPMC flapping wing. An optimization study tπ was performed to obtain improved flapping actuation of the ω sin , t ∈ 0, 0 5Δt , m s Δt IPMC wing. The optimization algorithm leads to a flapping wing with dimensions similar to the dragonfly Aeshna multi- ω , t ∈ 0 5Δt ,0 5T − 0 5Δt , m s s color’s wing [23]. With the development of IPMC, it has a ω t ω sin 0 5T − 0 5t , t ∈ 0 5T − 0 5Δt ,0 5T +0 5Δt , wide prospect in bionic robot and other applications. But s m s s Δt applying IPMC in flapping air vehicle has lack of study. −ω , t ∈ 0 5T +0 5Δt , T − 0 5Δt , Due to the unique performance of the IPMC, it can be m s s suitably used in the bionic flapping actuation. π ω sin t − T , t ∈ T − 0 5Δt , T , m s By combing the principle of bionics of beetle flapping, a Δt biomimetic beetle-inspired flapping air vehicle was proposed ω = , in this work. The flapping mechanism was fabricated by m 2Δt / π +0 5T − Δt s s casted IPMC. The flapping state of beetle-inspired air vehicle was used to analyze the flapping displacement and angle of the wing. The regularity of flapping displacement was investigated under different conditions. Experiments of where θ is the angle amplitude of flapping wing. m Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 3 In the design process of the beetle-inspired flapping mechanism, a 50 mm long, 10 mm wide, and 420 μm thick IPMC was selected for the actuation because the primary concerns are actuation force and response speed. As shown in Figure 3, the skeleton of flapping mechanism was made of PET film, the wings were made of PVC film, and the size of the wing is 42 mm in length and 15 mm in width. The wing was fixed on the outer surface of PET skeleton by free hinge joint. The IPMC actuator was gripped by a clamp at one side and attached the wings at another side to transfer the actua- Figure 3: Beetle-inspired flapping mechanism. tion force from the IPMC actuator to the wing. Therefore, the bending motion of the IPMC actuator would produce the flapping motion of the beetle-inspired mechanism. An electromechanical modeling was established for IPMC based on thermodynamics theory [26, 27]. The deformation of IPMC under the combined effect of force field and electric field is as follows: 1 M M + M m e = = 2 ρ YI YI z z The moment M by force is described as YI YI z z M = − M = − BE, 3 m e ρ ρ Figure 4: Casted IPMC sample. where ρ is the curvature radius after bending deformation, M is the moment by force, and M is the moment by electri- m e cal field. Y is the elastic modulus of IPMC and I is the dipped into H SO (0.5%). Second, the film was dipped into 2 4 moment of inertia of cross section to z-axis. E is the electric the solution of [Pt(NH ) ]Cl (3 mg/mm ) for about 12 hours 3 4 2 field and B is the bending coefficient of IPMC and is propor- to accomplish ion exchange. Third, the platinum complex tional to the square of the length and linearly proportional to cations were reduced to the metallic state by using the reduc- the width and thickness of IPMC. Besides, it is also related to ing agents NaBH (5%); the reaction temperature was from the conductivity of the sample and the diffusion rate of the 40 to 60 C. The electrode of Pt was deposited on the surface ions used. of the film. Fourth, the film was prepared for the second reduction reaction by rinsing in ultrasonic cleaners after the 3. Experiments first reduction reaction. Fifth, the solution of hydrazine hydrate (20%) and the solution of hydroxylammonium 3.1. Fabrication of Casted IPMC. The performance of the chloride (5%) were used to perform the second reduction as IPMC varies with its thickness, such as deformation and the reducing agents. After this reduction, the IPMC sample blocking force. Thick IPMC was chosen for the actuation of was fabricated, as shown in Figure 4. Finally, the IPMC the beetle-inspired mechanism. To achieve the desired thick sample was rinsed with deionized water and stored in a Nafion film, the casting method with Nafion dispersion from solution of LiCl for experiment [11]. DuPont™ was used to fabricate the IPMC in this study. Nafion dispersion and dimethylformamide (DMF) were poured together to cast the Nafion film. The proportion of 3.2. Experimental Setup. Since the main performance charac- Nafion and DMF is 4 : 1. The use of DMF is to prevent surface teristic of flapping air vehicle is the flapping displacement of cracks in solidified Nafion during solvent evaporation. The the wing, the flapping displacement measurement system mixed solution was stirred with a magnetic stirrer to make was established. The experimental setup of the flapping the solution homogeneous. The solution is then placed in a displacement measurement system is shown in Figure 5. constant-temperature drying oven. The solvent was fully The beetle-inspired flapping air vehicle was placed in front evaporated at 70 of the coordinate paper (1mm ∗1mm per grid); the actuated C in the oven. It takes almost 18 hours to form the film. The Nafion film was conserved in deionized flapping process was captured by digital camera; and the water. The electrodes of Pt attached to both sides of the flapping displacement data of the wing was acquired by a Nafion film were fabricated by electroless plating. First, num- laser displacement sensor (LK-080). ber 1500 sandpaper was used to roughen the surface of the The experimental setup of the blocking force measure- ment system was also established, as shown in Figure 6. film along one direction. It was used to increase the interfacial area to make the electrode material deposits. Then The blocking force was measured by a load cell (XH10-5 g) the film was rinsed chemically with H SO (0.5%) and H O and data acquisition was done by using National Instru- 2 4 2 2 (15%) solution, rinsed with boiled deionized water, and ments™ PXI system with PXIe-6361 (DAQ). 4 Applied Bionics and Biomechanics Laser displacement Computer sensor CCD camera Flapping air vehicle Power source Figure 5: Displacement measurement system. 2.5 Power source Computer 1.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 Voltage (V) Flapping air vehicle Data acquisition IPMC Casted IPMC Figure 7: Blocking force of IPMC and casted IPMC. snapshots of flapping mechanism is shown in Figure 8. The mechanism was actuated by 4.5 V in a 0.5 Hz frequency Load cell Transmitter sinusoidal wave input voltage. Take one snapshot per 0.5 Figure 6: Force measurement system. second. As shown in Figure 8(a), the wings of the mechanism were at the lowest position at 0 second. Then the wings flap in 4. Results and Discussion an upstroke position. The highest position of upstroke is at 1 second. After the downstroke of the flapping wings, the wings return to the original position at 2 seconds to finish The IPMC actuator of beetle-inspired air vehicle was fabri- cated by a casted Nafion membrane. The thickness of IPMC one upstroke and downstroke cycle. From Figure 8, the by the casted Nafion was 420 μm. Driven by 0–4.5 V DC, the maximum tip displacements of the wing is exceeding blocking force of IPMC fabricated by the casted Nafion was 10 mm; the maximum flapping angle is 12.5 degrees. compared with IPMC fabricated by a commercial Nafion- Figure 9 shows the results of the wing displacements 117 in Figure 7. It can be found that the blocking force of of beetle-inspired air vehicle under different voltage and IPMC by casted Nafion is larger than IPMC fabricated by frequency. The displacements of the wing keep increasing Nafion-117; the IPMC by casted Nafion can create 2.4 grams with the increase in the actuation voltage. Meanwhile, the of force for 4 V DC. It is suitable for the actuation of a displacements of the wing keep decreasing with the increase flapping wing than IPMC fabricated by Nafion-117. in the actuation frequency. The reason is that the driving The wings of the beetle-inspired air vehicle flap in voltage increases and the blocking force of IPMC increases upstroke and downstroke when AC voltage is applied. The under the same frequency, so the displacements of the wing front view of the flapping motion of the beetle-inspired air generated by the IPMC increase. Under the same driving vehicle was recorded by CCD camera. The consecutive voltage, the driving frequency decreases and the driving time Blocking force (g) Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 5 (a) 0 s (b) 0.5 s (c) 1 s (d) 1.5 s (e) 2 s Figure 8: Flapping motion of the beetle-inspired air vehicle. 0.2 0.15 5 0.1 4 0.05 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 −0.05 −0.1 −0.15 3 3.5 4 4.5 −0.2 Voltage (V) Time (s) 0.5 Hz 2 Hz 1 Hz 2.5 Hz 2 V 4 V 1.5 Hz 3 Hz 3 V 5 V Figure 9: Displacements of the wing under different voltage Figure 10: Reaction force of flapping mechanism under 7 Hz, and frequency. 2–5 V AC. is lengthened; thus, the displacements increase. It can be seen sinusoidal input voltage with amplitude varying from 2 to that the maximum displacement of the wing is obtained 5 V at 1 V intervals, respectively. With the increase of under the 4.5 V in 0.5 Hz; the value is 6.4 mm. Similarly, the actuation voltage, the reaction force increases and it also flapping angle was reduced for higher input frequency. exhibits the regularity of sinusoidal input. As shown in When the actuation frequency of IPMC is close to the Figure 11, the reaction force under 7.5 Hz is larger than that resonant frequency, low-amplitude high-frequency flapping of 7 Hz and 8 Hz. It indicates that more actuation force and of the wing could be realized. As a result of frequency- high-frequency flapping could be obtained at the resonant sweeping test, the resonant frequency of the IPMC is frequency. But it can be seen from the results of the measure- 7.5 Hz. The measurement of reaction force of the support ment that the actuation force is low when AC voltage is was carried out at the resonant frequency. Figures 10–12 applied, and it is difficult to actuate the flapping wing under show the reaction force under a 7 Hz, 7.5 Hz, and 8 Hz high frequency and low voltage. Displacement (mm) Reaction force (g) 6 Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 0.2 Conflicts of Interest 0.15 The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. 0.1 Acknowledgments 0.05 0 This work is financially supported by the National Natural 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 Science Foundation of China (no. 51505401, no. 91648114, −0.05 and no. 61605163), Health-Education Joint Research Projects −0.1 of Fujian Province (no. WKJ2016-2-21), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Xiamen −0.15 University (no. 20720150082). −0.2 Time (s) References 2 V 4 V 3 V 5 V [1] C. Jo, D. Pugal, I. K. Oh, K. J. Kim, and K. Asaka, “Recent advances in ionic polymer–metal composite actuators and Figure 11: Reaction force of flapping mechanism under 7.5 Hz, their modeling and applications,” Progress in Polymer Science, 2–5 V AC. vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 1037–1066, 2013. [2] M. Shahinpoory, Y. Bar-Cohenz, J. O. Simpsonx, and J. 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