Tomasz Szmechtyk, Natalia Sienkiewicz, Katarzyna Koter, Agnieszka Kobierska and Krzysztof Strzelec
In this study novel transversal pneumatic artificial muscles (TPAM), made from composite – poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) matrix membrane and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) satin reinforcement, are presented. Miniature TPAM consists of a flexible internal braid (IB) reinforcing the membrane and the external braid (EB). EB, with fibers arranged transversely to the IB, is placed laterally. Differently prepared TPAMs were tested for their effectiveness as actuators for robot drive and the PDMS/PET composite suitability was evaluated for applications in human gastrointestinal tract (chemical resistance, thermal characteristic). FT-IR spectra of the composite were compared for study PDMS impregnation process of PET satin and effect of immersion in selected solution. The composite shows outstanding biocompatibility and the muscles have competitive static load characteristics in comparison with other pneumatic artificial muscles (PAM). These results lead to believe, that in the near future painless examination of the gastrointestinal tract using a secure robot will be possible.