[2023-Vol.20-Issue 1]Rapid, Energy-saving Bioinspired Soft Switching Valve Embedded in Snapping Membrane Actuator
Post: 2023-02-05 11:44  View:617

Journal of Bionic Engineering (2023) 20:225–236 

Rapid, Energy-saving Bioinspired Soft Switching Valve Embedded in Snapping Membrane Actuator Fangzhou Zhao1,2 · Yingjie Wang1,2 · Sijia Liu1,2 · Miao Jin1,2 · Luquan Ren2  · Lei Ren2,3 · Chunbao Liu1,2 

1 School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Jilin University, Changchun 130022, China
2 Key Laboratory of Bionic Engineering, Ministry of Education, Jilin University, Changchun 130022, China
3 School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Abstract  In nature, organisms widely use the interaction of muscle contraction and biological pipelines to form an efcient fuid control mechanism. Herein, a pneumatically powered, Bioinspired Soft Switching valve (BSS valve) with short response time and low-energy consumption is described. The BSS valve is composed of fexible walls, a fexible tube and symmetrically arranged Snapping Membrane actuator (SM actuator). It functions based on tube deformation throttling caused by instability of SM actuator membrane. To realize rapid preparation of customized BSS valve, the modular manufacturing method suitable for diferent materials and structures based on 3D printing and mold forming was developed. Using the membrane fip rate as indicators, the displacement transient response characteristics of three structures actuators were studied, The results proved that spherical and spherical cap membrane SM actuator achieved rapid displacement response under the low critical pressure threshold. Furthermore, with critical buckling pressure and capacity utilization efciency as indicators, we analyzed the characteristics of SM actuators with diferent radius and wall thickness to obtain reasonable structural parameters confguration of SM actuators. The infuence of radius and thickness on SM actuator is revealed, and theoretical model formulas were formed. Two diferent confgurations are presented. (1) Customized BSS valve structures can achieve sequential motion of fexible gripper. (2) BSS valve embedded in soft pump. The performance tests confrmed it has signifcant advantages in energy consumption, specifc pressure, specifc fow, high-frequency cycle load life, and valve can be integrated into the soft pump fuid system as a throttling unit, and provides an idea for fuid drive control integration. 

Keywords  Bioinspired · Soft robot · BSS valve · SM actuator


Design principles of the BSS valve inspired by biological fluid control mechanisms. a Muscle pump in the lower limb: Axial contraction of muscle fiber causes radial expansion of muscle and energy storage of tendon. The deformation of its adjacent vein can control the blood flow area. b Cardiac contractions: the spiral arrangement of cardiac muscle fibers changes the ventricular volume through the actuation and relaxation of circulation to achieve blood pumping. c Jetting squid: the CM and LM activated cause the changes of the mantle (jet orifice), and the pressure difference in the mantle cavity realizes the liquid jetting and refilling. d Creeping earthworms: the crawling movement is realized by the alternative contraction of CM and LM and the transmission amplification of hydrostatic skeleton structure

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