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Exoskeletal Hand Fixture for use with Tool Balancing arm for Packing/Warehouse Applications

Description

Many industries require workers in warehouse and stockroom environments to perform frequent lifting tasks. Over time these repeated tasks can lead to excess strain on the worker's body and reduced productivity. This project seeks to develop an exoskeletal wrist fixture

Many industries require workers in warehouse and stockroom environments to perform frequent lifting tasks. Over time these repeated tasks can lead to excess strain on the worker's body and reduced productivity. This project seeks to develop an exoskeletal wrist fixture to be used in conjunction with a powered exoskeleton arm to aid workers performing box lifting types of tasks. Existing products aimed at improving worker comfort and productivity typically employ either fully powered exoskeleton suits or utilize minimally powered spring arms and/or fixtures. These designs either reduce stress to the user's body through powered arms and grippers operated via handheld controls which have limited functionality, or they use a more minimal setup that reduces some load, but exposes the user's hands and wrists to injury by directing support to the forearm. The design proposed here seeks to strike a balance between size, weight, and power requirements and also proposes a novel wrist exoskeleton design which minimizes stress on the user's wrists by directly interfacing with the object to be picked up. The design of the wrist exoskeleton was approached through initially selecting degrees of freedom and a ROM (range of motion) to accommodate. Feel and functionality were improved through an iterative prototyping process which yielded two primary designs. A novel "clip-in" method was proposed to allow the user to easily attach and detach from the exoskeleton. Designs utilized a contact surface intended to be used with dry fibrillary adhesives to maximize exoskeleton grip. Two final designs, which used two pivots in opposite kinematic order, were constructed and tested to determine the best kinematic layout. The best design had two prototypes created to be worn with passive test arms that attached to the user though a specially designed belt.

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Date Created
2016-12

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Corrosion and Sensitized Microstructure Evolution of 3D Printed Stainless Steel 316 and Inconel 718 Dissolvable Supports

Description

Additive manufacturing (AM) describes an array of methods used to create a 3D object layer by layer. The increasing popularity of AM in the past decade has been due to its demonstrated potential to increase design flexibility, produce rapid

Additive manufacturing (AM) describes an array of methods used to create a 3D object layer by layer. The increasing popularity of AM in the past decade has been due to its demonstrated potential to increase design flexibility, produce rapid prototypes, and decrease material waste. Temporary supports are an inconvenient necessity in many metal AM parts. These sacrificial structures are used to fabricate large overhangs, anchor the part to the build substrate, and provide a heat pathway to avoid warping. Polymers AM has addressed this issue by using support material that is soluble in an electrolyte that the base material is not. In contrast, metals AM has traditionally approached support removal using time consuming, costly methods such as electrical discharge machining or a dremel.

This work introduces dissolvable supports to single- and multi-material metals AM. The multi-material approach uses material choice to design a functionally graded material where corrosion is the functionality being varied. The single-material approach is the primary focus of this thesis, leveraging already common post-print heat treatments to locally alter the microstructure near the surface. By including a sensitizing agent in the ageing heat treatment, carbon is diffused into the part decreasing the corrosion resistance to a depth equal to at least half the support thickness. In a properly chosen electrolyte, this layer is easily chemically, or electrochemically removed. Stainless steel 316 (SS316) and Inconel 718 are both investigated to study this process using two popular alloys. The microstructure evolution and corrosion properties are investigated for both. For SS316, the effect of applied electrochemical potential is investigated to describe the varying corrosion phenomena induced, and the effect of potential choice on resultant roughness. In summary, a new approach to remove supports from metal AM parts is introduced to decrease costs and further the field of metals AM by expanding the design space.

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Date Created
2018

Mechanics of Soft Solids: Theory and Applications in 3D Printing of Concrete

Description

Layer-wise extrusion of soft-solid like cement pastes and mortars is commonly used in 3D printing of concrete. Rheological and mechanical characterization of the printable binder for on-demand flow and subsequent structuration is a critical challenge. This research is an effort

Layer-wise extrusion of soft-solid like cement pastes and mortars is commonly used in 3D printing of concrete. Rheological and mechanical characterization of the printable binder for on-demand flow and subsequent structuration is a critical challenge. This research is an effort to understand the mechanics of cementitious binders as soft solids in the fresh state, towards establishing material-process relationships to enhance print quality. This study introduces 3D printable binders developed based on rotational and capillary rheology test parameters, and establish the direct influence of packing coefficients, geometric ratio, slip velocities, and critical print velocities on the extrudate quality. The ratio of packing fraction to the square of average particle diameter (0.01-0.02), and equivalent microstructural index (5-20) were suitable for printing, and were directly related to the cohesion and extrusional yield stress of the material. In fact, steady state pressure for printing (30-40 kPa) is proportional to the extrusional yield stress, and increases with the geometric ratio (0-60) and print velocity (5-50 mm/s). Higher print velocities results in higher wall shear stresses and was exponentially related to the slip layer thickness (estimated between 1-5μ), while the addition of superplasticizers improve the slip layer thickness and the extrudate flow. However, the steady state pressure and printer capacity limits the maximum print velocity while the deadzone length limits the minimum velocity allowable (critical velocity regime) for printing. The evolution of buildability with time for the fresh state mortars was characterized with digital image correlation using compressive strain and strain rate in printed layers. The fresh state characteristics (interlayer and interfilamentous) and process parameters (layer height and fiber dimensions) influence the hardened mechanical properties. A lower layer height generally improves the mechanical properties and slight addition of fiber (up to 0.3% by volume) results in a 15-30% increase in the mechanical properties. 3D scanning and point-cloud analysis was also used to assess the geometric tolerance of a print based on mean error distances, print accuracy index, and layer-wise percent overlap. The research output will contribute to a synergistic material-process design and development of test methods for printability in the context of 3D printing of concrete.

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Date Created
2021