ICRA 2011 Paper Abstract


Paper TuA106.3

Um, Tae (University of Virginia), Chen, Zheng (University of Virginia), Bart-Smith, Hilary (University of Virginia)

A Novel Electroactive Polymer Buoyancy Control Device for Bio-Inspired Underwater Vehicles

Scheduled for presentation during the Regular Sessions "Behaviour-Based Systems" (TuA106), Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 08:50−09:05, Room 5A

2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 9-13, 2011, Shanghai International Conference Center, Shanghai, China

This information is tentative and subject to change. Compiled on April 2, 2020

Keywords Biologically-Inspired Robots, Autonomous Navigation, Micro/Nano Robots


A novel depth control device has been designed and built. The proof-of-concept device utilizes the principles of electrolysis of water, enhanced by the inclusion of an ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) membrane as a medium. The device design incorporates an artificial bladder where the volume of gas generated by electrolysis is controlled by a solenoid valve, thus changing the device’s buoyancy. A set of gold electrodes, separated by an IPMC film, is used as a lightweight and compact electrolysis generator. IPMC acts as stable, low power, highly efficient and environmentally friendly gas generator. Experimental results using open-loop control show that the device is capable of controlling its buoyancy efficiently with no noise and low power consumption. Applications for this technology include integration into bio-inspired, unmanned underwater vehicles.



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