Laminar Jamming Structures

Testing LJSThis work was supported by the National Science Foundation National Robotics Initiative Grant CMMI-1637838 and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award 1122374.

Laminar Jamming Structures (LJS) are structures with thin layers enclosed in an airtight bag that can alternate between a highly flexible and a rigid state with a drastic increase in stiffness and damping when a pressure gradient is applied. LJS can also be used to simulate the deformation pattern of joints. Through laminar jamming, we enable soft robotic components to selectively exhibit mechanical properties similar to the ones in traditional rigid robots.

Actuation of LJS occurs by applying a vacuum to the airtight envelope, therefore subjecting the structure to a pressure gradient. Increased frictional interactions cause coupling between the layers, which dramatically increases the bending stiffness of the structure, since it behaves like a unified beam. In addition, at high loads, shear stress causes layers to slip, which results in dissipation of energy through dry friction. In short, when vacuum is applied, the structures can transition from a very compliant state to a more rigid and/or shock-absorbent one.

Comparison between moderate and high force

In this documentation set, you will find the fabrication methods used in a well-resourced fabrication laboratory as well as alternative methods that can be achieved in an educational environment. The fabrication process also enables the creation of LJS in different shapes and materials, expanding the possibilities of their use.

Bridging the characteristics of soft and traditional rigid machines through laminar jamming can increase the versatility and scope of the next generation of robots. This documentation set also includes case studies in which LJS were used in order to replicate joint structures and to aid a drone landing

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