Exploiting a Simple Asymmetric Pleating Method to Realize a Textile Based Bending Actuator

Saivimal Sridar, Allan J. Veale, Massimo Sartori, Herman van der Kooij*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


This work presents the design, modeling and control of an asymmetrically pleated textile actuator (APTA). The presented actuator utilizes a simple inflatable beam which is constrained asymmetrically using a pleat that is fixed only to a single side. Due to the difference in length between the constrained side and the unconstrained side, a bend at the pleat is generated upon inflation. This method utilizes sewing and/or heat sealing to create bending, making it easy to manufacture compared to many soft actuators and further allows for the creation of complex 3D structures in conjunction with methods presented in literature due to the in-plane bending generated by the presented pleating method. The design, fabrication and modeling of the APTA are presented and the actuator characterization in the form of bending angle, quasi-static torque and hysteresis tests are performed. A maximum normalized output torque of 400 Nm/kPa.m3 was demonstrated by the presented APTA. An empirical model for the APTA using the collected data was derived to predict torque output throughout the actuator range of motion. A controller using the empirical model was designed to track desired torque profiles. Single and Multiple step response experiments were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the controller for burst-like actuation which could have implications in physical assistance for biological systems and in shape forming deployable structures. Further, we present several potential applications to this actuator in the form of 3D inflatable structures, a continuum module segment, and a wearable elbow device.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1794-1801
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and automation letters
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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