Bio-inspired design to support reduced energy consumption via the ‘light weighting’ of machine system elements

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Bukner, S. ; Dialami, F. ; Ding, L. ; Matthews, J. (2015)

A potential technique to reduce the energy required to actuate moving parts in a machine is to reduce their mass. This paper presents initial research attempting to answer this question for robotic arm application using a biologically inspired approach. Investigation identified some potential biological solutions for tubular structures. From analysis of the properties of these biological models, the physical principles were deduced and abstracted into computer-aided design models for testing using finite element analysis. Three of the best performing design solutions were manufactured and physically tested. Findings showed that the biomimetic structures reached at least the same efficiency of conventional tubular structures regarding the ratio of maximum load and weight.
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