Design of Bistable Soft Deployable Structures via a Kirigami-inspired Planar Fabrication Approach

by   Mrunmayi Mungekar, et al.

Fully soft bistable mechanisms have shown extensive applications ranging from soft robotics, wearable devices, and medical tools, to energy harvesting. However, the lack of design and fabrication methods that are easy and potentially scalable limits their further adoption into mainstream applications. Here a top-down planar approach is presented by introducing Kirigami-inspired engineering combined with a pre-stretching process. Using this method, Kirigami-Pre-stretched Substrate-Kirigami trilayered precursors are created in a planar manner; upon release, the strain mismatch – due to the pre-stretching of substrate – between layers would induce an out-of-plane buckling to achieve targeted three dimensional (3D) bistable structures. By combining experimental characterization, analytical modeling, and finite element simulation, the effect of the pattern size of Kirigami layers and pre-stretching on the geometry and stability of resulting 3D composites is explored. In addition, methods to realize soft bistable structures with arbitrary shapes and soft composites with multistable configurations are investigated, which could encourage further applications. Our method is demonstrated by using bistable soft Kirigami composites to construct two soft machines: (i) a bistable soft gripper that can gently grasp delicate objects with different shapes and sizes and (ii) a flytrap-inspired robot that can autonomously detect and capture objects.


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