Soft Combustion-Driven Pump

2014

Abstract

This paper describes the design and manufacture of a monolithic high-pressure diaphragm pump made entirely of soft elastomer material and driven by a combustion chamber incorporated within the soft pump structure. The pump can deliver pressures up to 60 kPa and can reach output flows up to 40 ml/min. Methane (CH4) combustion is used as the actuation source. The pump uses two soft flap-structured check valves for directing the flow. Pumping pressure and frequency dependence were measured and analyzed. Results show that controlled and repeatable combustion of methane is possible without damaging the soft structure. Experimentally, 6-10% methane is identified as the ideal air-fuel ratio for combustion. With continuous delivery of reactants, a 1 Hz pumping frequency was achieved. The volume of the combustion chamber and the material stiffness are identified to be major determinants of the stroke volume.

Publication

A Soft Combustion-Driven Pump for Soft Robots, C. Stergiopulos, D. Vogt, M. T. Tolley, M. Wehner, J. Barber, G. M. Whitesides, and R. J. Wood, ASME SMASIS, Newport, RI, Sept. 2014.

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