What Happens When Pneu-Net Soft Robotic Actuators Get Fatigued?

Jacqueline Libby, Aniket A. Somwanshi, Federico Stancati, Gayatri Tyagi, Aadit Patel, Naigam Bhatt, John Ross Rizzo, S. Farokh Atashzar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Soft actuators have attracted a great deal of interest in the context of rehabilitative and assistive robots for increasing safety and lowering costs as compared to rigid-body robotic systems. During actuation, soft actuators experience high levels of deformation, which can lead to microscale fractures in their elastomeric structure, which fatigues the system over time and eventually leads to macroscale damages and eventually failure. This paper reports finite element modeling (FEM) of pneu-nets at high angles, along with repetitive experimentation at high deformation rates, in order to study the effect and behavior of fatigue in soft robotic actuators, which would result in deviation from the ideal behavior. Comparing the FEM model and experimental data, we show that FEM can model the performance of the actuator before fatigue to a bending angle of 167° with 96% accuracy. We also show that the FEM model performance will drop to 80% due to fatigue after repetitive high-angle bending. The results of this paper objectively highlight the emergence of fatigue over cyclic activation of the system and the resulting deviation from the computational FEM model. Such behavior can be considered in future controllers to adapt the system with time-variable and non-autonomous response dynamics of soft robots.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 International Symposium on Medical Robotics, ISMR 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9798350301625
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 International Symposium on Medical Robotics, ISMR 2023 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Apr 19 2023Apr 21 2023

Publication series

Name2023 International Symposium on Medical Robotics, ISMR 2023


Conference2023 International Symposium on Medical Robotics, ISMR 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Control and Optimization
  • Surgery


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