Functionally Graded Knitted Actuators with NiTi-Based Shape Memory Alloys for Topographically Self-Fitting Wearables

Rachael Granberry, Kevin Eschen, Brad Holschuh, Julianna Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Advances in actuating fabrics can enable a paradigm shift in the field of smart wearables by dynamically fitting themselves to the unique topography of the human body. Applications including soft wearable robotics, continuous health monitoring, and body-mounted haptic feedback systems are dependent upon simultaneous body proximity and garment stiffness for functionality. Passive fabrics and fitting mechanisms are unable to conform around surface concavities and require either high elasticity or a multiplicity of closure devices to achieve garment fit. The design, manufacture, and validation of the first circumferentially contractile and topographic self-fitting garments composed of NiTi-based shape memory alloy (SMA) knitted actuators that dynamically conform to the unique shape and size of the wearer's body in response to a change of the garment's temperature is introduced. Advanced materials and systems innovations 1) enable novel garment manufacturing and application strategies, 2) facilitate topographical fitting (spatial actuation) through garment architectural design, and 3) provide tunable NiTi-based SMA actuation temperatures to enable actuation on the surface of human skin. This research represents a paradigm shift for wearable applications by redefining garment fit to fully topographical conformation to the wearer through advanced materials and structures design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900548
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Volume4
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
K.E. and R.G. contributed equally to this work. R.G., K.E., and J.A. developed the self-fitting garment operation. K.E. led the garment 3D marker tracking data collection and analysis procedures, developed the topographical investigation method, conducted XRD analysis of the custom NiTi material, and developed the setup used to gather and analyze contact sensing data. R.G. designed the anthropometric analysis procedure, developed the custom NiTi material requirements in collaboration with FWM, led the development of the knitted garment patterns, developed manufacturing procedures, and conducted thermomechanical performance analysis of the custom material. J.A. and B.H. guided the direction, motivation, and methods for the work. This work was supported in part by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (Grant #80NSSC17K0158), Minnesota's Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy Robotics, Sensors, and Advanced Manufacturing (MnDRIVE RSAM) Initiative, and the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research UMII MnDRIVE Graduate Assistantship. Thank you to Fort Wayne Metals for supplying the nickel-rich NiTi material. Thank you to the University of Minnesota Polymer Characterization Facility and Charles Weinberg from the University of Minnesota Design of Active Materials and Structures Lab for assisting with DSC testing. Thank you for support from the University of Minnesota's Wearable Technology Lab, specifically Heidi Woelfe, for coordinating time on the Instron machine.

Funding Information:
K.E. and R.G. contributed equally to this work. R.G., K.E., and J.A. developed the self‐fitting garment operation. K.E. led the garment 3D marker tracking data collection and analysis procedures, developed the topographical investigation method, conducted XRD analysis of the custom NiTi material, and developed the setup used to gather and analyze contact sensing data. R.G. designed the anthropometric analysis procedure, developed the custom NiTi material requirements in collaboration with FWM, led the development of the knitted garment patterns, developed manufacturing procedures, and conducted thermomechanical performance analysis of the custom material. J.A. and B.H. guided the direction, motivation, and methods for the work. This work was supported in part by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (Grant #80NSSC17K0158), Minnesota's Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy Robotics, Sensors, and Advanced Manufacturing (MnDRIVE RSAM) Initiative, and the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research UMII MnDRIVE Graduate Assistantship. Thank you to Fort Wayne Metals for supplying the nickel‐rich NiTi material. Thank you to the University of Minnesota Polymer Characterization Facility and Charles Weinberg from the University of Minnesota Design of Active Materials and Structures Lab for assisting with DSC testing. Thank you for support from the University of Minnesota's Wearable Technology Lab, specifically Heidi Woelfe, for coordinating time on the Instron machine.

Keywords

  • NiTi
  • functional fabrics
  • knitted actuators
  • shape memory alloys

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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