Inspired by phenomena in the plant world, a meteoro-sensitive rotational actuator is developed. The design uses a hygro-active shell, whose water-based swelling is restricted at selective locations to form a helicoid structure. The influence of geometrical parameters on the performance is investigated using a numerical analysis of various geometries, by looking at resulting rotation and torque during this rotation. Prototypes are built of five key geometries in the design space, to validate the simulations and to investigate the behaviour of the design experimentally. These prototypes are submerged in water to investigate their deformation, after which they are placed in a torsion machine to investigate the torque during rotation. The experiments result in similar rotations and torques as the simulations. The designed Hygromorphic Rotational Actuator is capable of passively rotating its own structure, thereby expanding the possibilities of engineers and designers when designing passive autonomous systems.

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Smart Materials and Structures
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

Joosten, S. (Sebastiaan), Radaelli, G. (Giuseppe), & Vallery, H. (Heike). (2021). Passive autonomy: Hygromorphic rotational actuators. Smart Materials and Structures, 30(2). doi:10.1088/1361-665X/abcf1e