Direct Chemical-to-Mechanical Artificial Muscles
at ORAU Workforce Solutions

Date Posted: 8/23/2019

Opportunity Description

Title of Research Opportunity: Direct Chemical-to-Mechanical Artificial Muscles Artificial muscles are anticipated to be crucial to force-multiplying future U.S. Army infantry units, by enabling robotic legged 'mules' and powerful exoskeletons. Current artificial muscles suffer from several drawbacks that prevent their use, with the most notable being poor efficiency at converting stored energy into mechanical work. Other drawbacks of various designs, which are almost as notable, are requirements that are unrealistic for infantry combat systems, such as: driving voltages in the kV range, large hysteresis, slow response, bulk refrigeration, excessive precious metal content, etc. ARL has begun a 3-year research program, in conjunction with Ray Baughman's group at UT Dallas (by means of ARL-South), to develop an artificial muscle that will directly convert the energy stored in a chemical into mechanical work done by the muscle (as measured over a full cycle of contraction and expansion). Minimum program goals are as follows: operates at 3 Hz; contracts by 15%; lifts loads 20x heavier than can human muscle of same length & weight; generates 1 kW of mechanical work per kg of muscle weight; has low hysteresis to facilitate control; has a full-cycle energy efficiency of 5%; lasts for 10 million cycles (3 months of runtime at 1 Hz); is scalable to horse-comparable muscles. Keywords: artificial muscle, polymer, robot

Opportunity Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Adelphi, MD
  • Opportunity Type: Other
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 8/23/2019

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Grooming future leaders in science and technology requires enhancing the skills, knowledge and experience of workers early in their careers. To that end, ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) assists in connecting the best and most diverse students, recent graduates, faculty and professionals with world-class fellowships, internships and jobs, whether in national laboratories, research institutions, federal government offices or private sector R&D departments.

ORAU works with agencies such as the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Research Associateship Program (RAP) allow Postdoctoral Fellows, Journeyman Fellows (undergraduate and graduates students and recent graduates), Senior Researchers, and Summer Faculty engage in research initiatives of their own choice, that are compatible with the interests of the government and will potentially contribute to the general effort of the ARL. We work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place recent graduates in full-time and part-time jobs in the Office of Research and Development at EPA under the National Student Services Contract. ORAU also works with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

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