Updated: Jan 31, 2022
HASEL actuators use electro-hydraulic actuation to operate, but what does that really mean?
A HASEL actuator is made from three basic components:
Flexible polymer pouch
Insulating liquid dielectric
How does electro hydraulic actuation play a part in HASEL?
The flexible polymer pouch is filled with the insulating liquid dielectric to form a soft hydraulic structure. The pair of opposing flexible electrodes is placed on the outside of the pouch to create the final structure. When a high voltage is applied across the opposing electrodes, one electrode becomes positively charged and the other negatively charged. These charges experience electrostatic attraction (because positive and negative charges attract), which causes the electrodes to squeeze together in a zipping motion. This zipping effectively “pumps” the dielectric fluid around the pouch and pressurizes it, causing the soft hydraulic structure to change shape. The shape change can lead to contraction, expansion, rotation, and more, depending on the specific design of the actuator. The amount of shape change is proportional to the voltage applied - a higher voltage will lead to more shape change as the electrostatic force increases - giving HASEL actuators a high degree of controllability.
This combination of electrostatic and hydraulic actuation, referred to as electro-hydraulic actuation, is what sets HASEL actuators apart from traditional actuation methods such as electric motors and pneumatic systems. By using electrostatic forces to pump a self-contained hydraulic fluid, HASEL actuators can operate at high speeds, are incredibly versatile in their design, and avoid the need for pumps, feed lines, and valves that are typically required for hydraulic systems in a variety of industries.
About Artimus Robotics
Artimus Robotics designs and manufactures soft electric actuators. The technology was inspired by nature (muscles) and spun out of the University of Colorado. HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic) actuator technology operates when electrostatic forces are applied to a flexible polymer pouch and dielectric liquid to drive shape change in a soft structure. These principles can be applied to achieve a contracting motion, expanding motion, or other complex deformations. For more information, please visit Artimus Robotics or contact email@example.com.