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Mechanical responses of soft magnetic robots with various geometric shapes: locomotion and deformation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Yuchen Jin
College of Pipeline and Civil Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
Shiyang Liu
College of Pipeline and Civil Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
Jing Li
College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao, 266580, China
Gongqi Cao
College of Pipeline and Civil Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
Jianlin Liu*
College of Pipeline and Civil Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Soft magnetic robots have attracted tremendous interest owning to their controllability and manoeuvrability, demonstrating great prospects in a number of industrial areas. However, further explorations on the locomotion and corresponding deformation of magnetic robots with complex configurations are still challenging. In the present study, we analyse a series of soft magnetic robots with various geometric shapes under the action of the magnetic field. First, we prepared the matrix material for the robot, that is, the mixture of silicone and magnetic particles. Next, we fabricated a triangular robot whose locomotion speed and warping speed are approximately 1.5 and 9 mm/s, respectively. We then surveyed the generalised types of robots with other shapes, where the movement, grabbing, closure and flipping behaviours were fully demonstrated. The experiments show that the arching speed and grabbing speed of the cross-shaped robot are around 4.8 and 3.5 mm/s, the crawling speed of the pentagram-shaped robot is 3.5 mm/s, the pentahedron-shaped robot can finish its closure motion in 1 s and the arch-shaped robot can flip forward and backward in 0.5 s. The numerical simulation based on the finite element method has been compared with the experimental results, and they are in excellent agreement. The results are beneficial to engineer soft robots under the multi-fields, which can broaden the eyes on inventing intellectual devices and equipment.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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