Finite Element Analysis of an Index Finger Flexion in an Extravehicular Activity Glove
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© 2018, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved. Extravehicular activity (EVA) gloves are integral to successful human space flight missions as hands are an astronauts primary means of interfacing with their environment. The anthropomorphic complexity of a hand with highly coupled motion and many degrees of freedom renders glove design especially challenging. A design study is conducted on the dimensions of a glove using optimization techniques to obtain a design that minimizes the bending moment required to articulate a finger in a pressurized EVA glove. The magnitude of this moment is a significant factor in the fatigue of astronauts and additional discomfort is added due to large contact pressure. In this work, non-linear finite element analysis is performed considering a finger composed of bone, soft tissue, and skin in an EVA glove innermost layer (known as the bladder), where contact between the finger and glove is considered. A design of experiment (DOE) is conducted to gain an initial understanding of the relation between outputs, such as glove fabric stress and bending moment, and the design variables. Following the design of experiments study, parametrized optimization using a genetic algorithm is conducted over a surrogate model fit to the DOE data for quick design evaluations. From the optimization, a design was found that allowed the glove to initially bend during pressurization significantly reducing the bending moment of the finger. The results of this work motivate further efforts to optimize the glove design and redefine the standards to maximize comfort and mobility in suited space operations.
author list (cited authors)
Varya, V., Scholten, W., Fernandes, R., Dunbar, B., & Hartl, D. J.