Shape memory alloy actuators paired in an antagonistic arrangement can be used to produce mechanisms that replicate human biomechanics. To investigate this proposal, the biomechanical articulation of the elbow by means of the biceps brachii muscle are compared with that of a shape memory alloy actuated arm. Initially, the movement of the human arm is modeled as a single degree of freedom rocker-slider mechanism. Using this model, a purely kinematical analysis is performed on the rigid body rocker-slider. Force analysis follows by modeling the muscle as a simple linear spring. Torque, rocking angle, and energy are calculated for a range of rocker-slider geometries. Actuator characterization of the SMA wire is conducted by experimentally determining the stress-strain curves for the martensite detwinned and full austenite states. Using the experimentally obtained stress-strain curves, nonlinear and linear theoretical actuator characteristic curves are produced for the isolated SMA wire. Using the theoretical actuator characteristic curve on the rocker-slider mechanism, kinematic and force analyses are performed for both the nonlinear and linear actuated mechanisms. To compare to biomechanics, a literature survey is performed on human musculotendon and skeletal lengths and introduced to the kinematic analysis. Examination of biological and mechanical results are then discussed.

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