Precision force and position control of an ionic polymer metal composite
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In this paper, model-based precision force and position control of an ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) is presented. A 23.8 mm × 3.4 mm × 0.16 mm IPMC strip was used as an actuator in a cantilever configuration. Open-loop force and position responses of an IPMC are not repeatable, and hence closed-loop precision control is of critical importance to ensure proper functioning, repeatability and reliability. After feedback controllers were designed and implemented with empirically obtained fourth-order plant transfer functions, the overshoot decreased from 460 to 2.8 per cent and the settling time was reduced from 37.5 to 3.22 s in force control. In position control the overshoot decreased from 333 to 20.3 per cent and the settling time was reduced from 21.5 to 2.56 s. Microscale precision force and position control capabilities of the IPMC actuator were also demonstrated experimentally. An 8 μN force resolution was achieved with a force noise of 0.5 μN r.m.s., and the position resolution was 6 μm with a position noise of 2.5 μm r.m.s. The maximum force and tip displacement achieved with the IPMC actuator under closed-loop control were 2 mN and 5 mm respectively. The IPMC actuator could follow various commanded force and position trajectories such as sinusoidal and trapezoidal position profiles, and a velocity profile with a 3 mm/s maximum velocity. A novel hybrid force and position control strategy demonstrated its utility in practical micromanipulation applications where the actuator force must be limited to prevent damaging micro-objects. High-precision control of the IPMC at low force level proved its potential for micromanufacturing and micromanipulation applications such as robotic and biomedical microgrippers.
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