Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-23

increased capability is " giant flexoelectricity " ; in other words,
boosting flexoelectric perfor mance in soft materials.
In most soft rubber ma terials, flexoelectricity is quite weak
but by rearranging the chains in unit cells on a molecular
level, the theory shows that soft elastomers can attain flexoelectricity
of nearly 104 times the conventional amount. Hu -
man-like ro bots made with soft elastomers that contain
increased flexoelectric properties would be cap able of a
greater range of motion to perform physical tasks. Pace -
makers implanted in human hearts and utilizing lithium batteries
could instead be self-pow ered as natural move ment
generates electrical power.
The mechanics of soft elastomers gen erating and being
manipulated by electrical signals replicates a similar function
observed in human ears. Sounds hit the ear drum, which
then vibrates and sends electrical signals to the brain, where
they are interpreted. In this case, movement can manipulate
soft elastomers and generate electricity to power a device on
its own. This process of self-generating power by movement is
a step up from a typical battery.
Efforts to improve on the flexoelectric effect in soft elastomers
will be the focus of further study.
For more information, contact Nicole Johnson at nmjohnson@
uh.edu; 713-743 1589.
Shape Memory Alloy
(SMA)-Enabled Actuators
SMA tube elements drive rotary and ring gear
motion in compact, powerful actuators.
John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Actuators typically have large footprints and mass to meet
the power output needed for operation, leading to design
hurdles for aircraft and space applications.
Researchers at NASA Glenn Re search Center pioneered and
matured shape memory alloys (SMAs) to enable future aircraft
with morphing airfoil surfaces and adaptive wings that fold to
respond to different flight condition demands. SMAs are functional
metals with unique properties that can go through solidstate
phase transformations - stretched, bent, heated, and
cooled - and recover their original shape.
The team created two novel me chanical actuators with SMA
transmission elements to move parts with rotational angular
twisting, delivering the same power as traditional actuators but
in a lightweight, smaller-footprint form factor. The new rotary
actuator and ring drive actuator move in response to external
stimuli such as heating.
The rotary actuator uses nested tubes of SMAs to provide
torque output or angular displacement; the ring drive actuator
uses SMA tubes in a drive gear element to provide continual
rotary output in either clockwise or counterclockwise directions.
The SMA tubes are deformed in their martensitic condition
and when exposed to a thermal stimulus, the tubes will
revert to their original state while providing rotary motion.
Motion Design, August 2021
Cov
ToC
Free Info at http://info.hotims.com/79416-710
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov4
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov3
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