Smart Materials for Robotics and Prostheses: New Research Training Group Investigates Autarkic Fibre Composites

flexible fibre composites

Dresden-based researchers strive to develop a completely novel class of materials, integrating actuators and sensors into flexible fibre composites.  To this purpose, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the new Research Training Group 2430 “Interactive Fibre-Elastomer Composites” at TU Dresden in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. The group’s spokesperson is Prof. Chokri Cherif of TU Dresden’s Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology.  Over the next 4.5 years, a total of 11 doctoral candidates in 11 sub-projects will be funded.

The goal is the simulation-based development of intelligent material combinations for so-called autarkic fibre composites. Actuators and sensors are integrated into the structures and no longer have to be retrofitted. This makes systems more robust and complex pre-form patterns can be individually fitted in the desired position – reversibly and contact-free. This enables to react quickly and precisely to variable environmental requirements.

With their innovative properties, interactive fibre-elastomer composites are predestined for application in numerous fields such as mechanical engineering, robotics, architecture, orthotics and prosthetics: examples are high-precision systems for gripping and transport processes (e.g. for hand prostheses, valves and deformable membranes) and construction components (e.g. trim tabs for land and water vehicles).

Source : TU Dresden