Modeling and Optimizing IPMC Microgrippers

Justin Simpson (University of New Mexico)

CHALLENGE - The goal of this project is to optimize IPMC (Ionic Polymer Metal Composite) fingers with respect to deflection, force exerted, and area minimization, which in turn minimizes costs. An optimization process is needed as early investigations into size and shape of IPMC fingers led to interesting results, as different shapes were better suited for certain design goals. 

SOLUTION - An FEA (Finite Element Analysis) model was used to determine the change in performance that results from varying the size and shape of IPMC fingers. Using Comsol Multiphysics and modeFRONTIER, these fingers were modeled and optimized for both force exerted and deflection. Using the Comsol model, we were able to determine the tip deflection and force output of many different IPMC fingers which were verified experimentally. Using algorithm NSGA-II in modeFRONTIER, we were able to optimize the fingers to determine the best shape and area depending on whether a high force or deflection was desired. 









BENEFITS - A desired force or deflection was reached in this study, such as 2 mm or 2 mN, while minimizing area. The best way to achieve design goals without simply cutting out an arbitrary IPMC finger and testing it, was to use an optimization package. The use of modeFRONTIER should be able to predict the best way to design an IPMC finger.