An electro-conjugate fluid (ECF) is a kind of functional fluid, which produces a jet flow (ECF jet) when subjected to high DC voltage. It is known that a strong ECF jet is generated under nonuniform electric field, for example, the field with a pair of needle and ring electrodes. This study introduces the ECF jet to develop a novel inchworm like in-pipe mobile robot which mainly consists of two clamping units (a clamping actuator, an ECF jet generator and an ECF tank) and a propelling unit (a propelling actuator, an ECF jet generator and an ECF tank). First, we characterize the actuators composed of a silicone rubber tube and aramid fibers. Next, we characterize the ECF jet generator which could be a micro fluid pressure source of the actuators, and confirm the effect of the number of electrode pairs on its performance. Finally we develop the ECF in-pipe mobile robot and demonstrate that the robot can move in a 14 mm acrylic pipe with 0.043 mm/s. The robot is 200mm long with the diameter of 10mm.
|Journal of Advanced Mechanical Design, Systems and Manufacturing
|Published - 2011
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