LONG-STROKE ROLLING DIAPHRAGM CYLINDER AND METHODS OF MAKING SAME
1. A hydraulic cylinder including:
- a body defining a bore having a diameter;
a diaphragm positioned within the body; and
a piston secured to a rod and positioned within the diaphragm;
wherein the diaphragm defines a stroke length of the piston;
wherein the hydraulic cylinder has a stroke length to bore diameter ratio greater than 1;
Hydraulic cylinders and methods of fabricating hydraulic cylinders, including long-stroke rolling diaphragm cylinders with any stroke length. In some embodiments, the cylinders are manufactured to have a stroke length to bore diameter (“stroke-to-bore”) ratio optionally greater than 1:1. Various embodiments are suitable for use in a passive hydraulic body-powered wearable robot, for example.
- 1. A hydraulic cylinder including:
a body defining a bore having a diameter; a diaphragm positioned within the body; and a piston secured to a rod and positioned within the diaphragm;
wherein the diaphragm defines a stroke length of the piston;
wherein the hydraulic cylinder has a stroke length to bore diameter ratio greater than 1;
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- 7. A method of manufacturing a diaphragm comprising:
providing a sheet of base material; securing the sheet of base material into a cylindrical configuration having a first end, a second end and defining a center axis; forming slits in the first end to form a plurality of flaps in the base material; folding the flaps in an overlapping fashion toward the center axis; securing the flaps in the overlapping fashion; applying an elastomer to the base material in a vacuum chamber; curing the elastomer; and applying an epoxy proximate the flaps.
- View Dependent Claims (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/723,126, filed Aug. 27, 2018, entitled “LONG-STROKE ROLLING DIAPHRAGM CYLINDER AND METHODS OF MAKING SAME” and is incorporated herein by reference.
This invention was made with government support under 5R01EB019834-02 awarded by National Institutes of Health (NIH). The government has certain rights in the invention.
Hydraulic fluid power systems are known for their high-power density. The same force and power level of electro-mechanical systems can be reached by hydraulic fluid power systems with relatively lighter weight. Hydraulic devices produce considerable torque compared to the small size of the device. The fluid carries away the heat generated in the device and acts as a lubricant for the components. Flexible hoses, lightweight components, and variable transmission ratio in the system make the hydraulic transmissions a viable choice for robots designed to interact directly with humans. Hydraulic actuators have high stiffness and small position error.
A hydraulic cylinder converts hydraulic power to mechanical power and is the most common actuator for hydraulic systems. Friction and leakage of the cylinders are the most important factors that determine force and volume efficiencies in hydraulic systems.
O-ring seal, rolling diaphragm, and gap seal cylinders are three common technologies that have been used in different hydraulic systems for years. O-ring seal actuators use an O-ring seal between the piston and cylinder. Rolling diaphragm actuators have a diaphragm between the cylinder and piston which rolls back and forth. In gap seal cylinders, there is a gap between the piston and cylinder. Since it is a tradeoff between leakage and friction, leakage between the two chambers in these cylinders is tolerated to reduce friction. Commercial rolling diaphragms are manufactured using compression molding of a sheet rubber and woven fabric.
The present disclosure addresses problems and limitations with the related art.
Rolling diaphragms manufactured by traditional processes using compression molding of a sheet rubber and woven fabric are limited to a stroke length being no greater than the bore of the cylinder. Rolling diaphragm cylinders with higher stroke-to-bore ratios could multiply the work per cycle of the system. Furthermore, rolling diaphragm cylinders having higher stroke-to-bore ratios would be beneficial as there are limitations of using short stroke length rolling diaphragm cylinders.
The disclosure relates to hydraulic cylinders having a long-stroke rolling diaphragm for small, passive hydraulic systems that can optionally be confirmed to have a stroke-to-bore ratio of greater than 1:1 (i.e. a stroke length to bore diameter ratio is greater than 1:1). The disclosure further includes methods of manufacturing long-stroke rolling diaphragms for hydraulic cylinders.
Hydraulic actuators are commonly used in mechanical systems, and actuator efficiency is one of the most important factors in these systems. The energy loss to overcome friction force makes the actuator less efficient.
Embodiments of the disclosure include long-stroke rolling diaphragm (“LSRD”) cylinders having approximately the same low friction as a gap seal and commercial rolling diaphragm cylinders as well as no fluid leakage. With various cylinders of the disclosure, unlike known rolling diaphragm cylinders that are restricted to a 1:1 “stroke-to-bore” size ratio (i.e. a stroke length to bore diameter ratio being not greater than 1:1), cylinders of the present disclosure can be fabricated with any stroke length (i.e. a stroke-to-bore size ratio greater than 1:1). Such cylinders having long-stroke rolling diaphragms are suitable for use in a passive hydraulic body-powered wearable robot, for example.
Although the disclosure is not intended to be limited to any particular application,
One example method of manufacturing a long-stroke rolling diaphragm 20 for use in a cylinder such as that of
A sheet of polyurethane base material 40 is wrapped around the long mold 30 and kept in place, with tape 42, for example (
In an alternate method, largely similar to that described above, the base material 40 can be made of fabric and can be secured into a cylindrical configuration with fabric glue instead of heat sealing via the hot knife. Fabrics that work best are those that do not wrinkle easily. Cotton fabric is one suitable example. The method can be the same as that described above in all other respects.
Two long-stroke rolling diaphragms were made by the process of paragraph  with the base material being cotton fabric and having a final thicknesses of 0.33 and 0.58 mm. The variance in thickness of the long-stroke rolling diaphragms was controlled by choosing the cotton sheets or fabric base materials having different thicknesses. Each long-stroke rolling diaphragm that was tested had a 2:1 stroke-bore ratio. A burst pressure limit test was performed on each diaphragm by pumping oil into a LSRD cylinder including each long-stroke rolling diaphragm and measuring the pressure. Each long-stroke rolling diaphragm weighed 67 g with a polyetherimide (PEI) plastic rod and 3D printed case and piston.
The apparatus 70 is schematically shown in
Where M is the weight hanging from the piston, g is the gravitational acceleration, P is the pressure in the outlet, A is the piston rod side area, and Fr is the friction force. A needle valve was used to adjust the velocity of the piston and maintain a constant velocity. The friction was calculated by finding the pressure in the outlet. The rod velocity was measured by a non-contacting position sensor to ensure that the velocity is constant and the force equilibrium is valid.
Cylinders with bores in the range of 14 to 22 mm were chosen for the test. The O-ring, gap seal, rolling diaphragm, and LSRD cylinders had bores of 14.33, 15.88, 17.76, and 21.03 mm, respectively. With respect to the pressure limit of each cylinder and the maximum force which is needed for future studies, four loads and velocities were chosen. The test was repeated three times for each configuration to reduce the friction random action influence.
Each test was performed three times and the average of each is shown in the following figures.
A fatigue test of 1000 cycles was performed on the thinner (0.33 mm) fabric-based diaphragm, and a burst pressure of 100 psi was reached after. It is noted that in an identically conducted experiment utilizing a polyurethane sheet-based long-stroke rolling diaphragm made by the process of
The experimental results of this example demonstrate that friction for all types of cylinders increase with higher loads. However, system efficiency generally increases with higher pressures. The results from this example show that friction is independent of velocity for all the cylinders in this range of speed. However, there is a possibility of friction and velocity dependency at higher velocities.
The results of this example show a 28 to 40 percent of friction to load for O-ring cylinders. Therefore, this type of cylinder is not recommended for low pressure, passive hydraulic devices. The results indicate 2 to 5 percent friction force for gap seal and rolling diaphragm cylinders. As shown in
The LSRD cylinder constructed for this study weighed about 67 g which is significantly lower than a comparable commercial model (e.g., Bellofram air cylinder 980-077-000, 367 g). It is noted that the weight of each long-stroke diaphragm is negligible as compared to the total weight of the LSRD cylinder. Therefore, it is believed that the LSRD cylinder tested is a good alternative for gap seal cylinders or for cylinders having rolling diaphragms, since they have a leakage problem and stroke limitations respectively. This example illustrates that various embodiments of the disclosure can be used in small hydraulic devices to achieve high force and volume efficiency.
The most basic concept of antagonist passive transmission can be shown by pairing two cylinders against one another. LSRD cylinders made by the process outlined in paragraph  utilizing a cotton fabric base material were used in the testbed because of their low friction and zero leakage. The rolling diaphragm cylinder cannot maintain reverse pressure because it would invert and cause the diaphragm to jam. The system was pre-pressurized to prevent reverse pressure on cylinders and reduce the system backlash. Three ways to preload the cylinders in the transmission were considered as are shown in
Configuration (a) shown in
Configuration (c) was used for the passive transmission testbed studied here. Rotary shafts were placed on the input and output to implement quantitative tests on the transmission. Engaging two lever arms using the transmission without any valves in the system made a testbed for evaluating friction, tracking, stiffness, impulse response, and step response of the system.
All cylinders of this example had the same bore size. A hand pump P was used to pressurize system 80. System air removal was done using bleed valves 82 in the circuit. All the manual valves were closed to isolate cylinders 2 and 3 from cylinders 1 and 4. The transmission ratio between input and output was 1:1. The transmission ratio was configured to be 1:−1 by connecting cylinder 3 to 1 and 4 to 2. There was no engagement between input and output in the transmission when isolation valve 84 was open and the stiffness was almost zero for this case.
An antagonist passive transmission was constructed for system testing as is illustrated in
Several tests were performed on the LSRD cylinders 1-4 made by the process of paragraph  utilizing a cotton fabric base material and the transmission device using the 1:1 transmission ratio configuration. The tests included: friction, stiffness, tracking, impulse response, and step response. System tests were conducted at three preload pressures using mineral oil for the working fluid.
1. Friction: The friction test was performed using a custom-motorized test stand equipped with a linear force sensor (e.g., Mark-10®, M5-200 both available from Mark-10 Corporation of Copiague, N.Y.) that was coupled to the input shaft 86 while the output shaft 88 was unloaded. Stiction is the break-away torque at the instant that the output shaft 88 starts rotating and friction is the torque measured when the output shaft 88 is rotating at a constant velocity. The friction and velocity are independent for these cylinders at velocities lower than 2 mm/s.
2. Stiffness: The stiffness of the transmission was measured by applying torque on the input shaft 86 by custom-motorized test stand and measuring the input shaft 86 angle and torque while the output shaft 88 was locked.
3. Tracking: Two lever arms were placed on input and output shafts 86, 88 to demonstrate the backdrivability of the transmission (
4. Impulse and step responses: An impulse input was applied to the system 80 using a hammer while the output shaft 88 was locked to the force sensor. The input angle and output torque were measured. A torque step input was applied to the input shaft 86 by releasing a weight with zero velocity from a pulley 92 on the input shaft 86 and locking the output shaft 88 to the force sensor.
EXAMPLE 2 RESULTS
1. Friction: The torque needed to overcome resistance in the transmission was measured. The friction was caused by the diaphragms, several timing belts, and bearings in the system. To differentiate these two friction sources, the friction test results on a single LSRD cylinder was used. The torque was applying on the input shaft using custom-motorized test stand and measured by the force sensor while monitoring the output angle.
As shown in
The transmission stiffness increases with preload pressure in cylinders. The stiffness for 275 kPa preload pressure was 166 mN-m/deg. The input shaft angle was monitored in this test; therefore, the vertical line in stiffness plot shows the stiction for the input shaft. Stiction is 119.8, 453.5, and 276.7 mN-m for 70, 170, and 275 kPa respectively. Stiction was 524, 783, 760 mN-m for 70, 170, and 275 kPa in the friction test while the output shaft was being observed. In both cases, highest stiction has been seen at 170 kPa.
3. Tracking: The unloaded input arm was manipulated at various speeds to evaluate the backdrivability of the transmission.
4. Impulse and Step Response: The output torque response to a torque step input is shown in
Less input angle changes were seen in higher pressures. It shows that the system was stiffer at higher pressure, while the output was engaged to the stationary force sensor, the shafts rotated less.
The hammer impulse response is shown in
Friction in a single LSRD cylinder has been measured and the equivalent value for four cylinders being used in the transmission device was between 29 to 136 mN-m for three pressures (
The stiffness increased from 66 to 166 mN-m/deg when the pressure was raised from 70 kPa to 275 kPa. The increase in stiffness resulted from the timing belts, which were stretched, and therefore stiffer at higher pressures.
The output followed the input manipulation (
The output shaft was engaged to a stationary force sensor in the step response test, it leaded the resistance torque to be in stiction region and not friction. Since the stiction has been seen greater at higher pressures, the output torque response to a torque step input shows higher torque transmitted in lower pressures. Higher power is expected to be transmitted at high pressures for a moving step response test setup. The input shaft angle was lower for higher pressures in the step response test and it shows that the system stiffens at higher pressures (
In the impulse test, for the same input shaft rotation, higher input torque was needed at higher pressures, and it caused higher output torque (
LSRD cylinders of the disclosure offer low friction, zero leakage, and long stroke length compared to the O-ring, gap seal, and commercial rolling diaphragm. LSRD cylinders are being used in an antagonist passive hydraulic transmission. Several tests have been conducted to evaluate the dynamic performance of the LSRD cylinders and the antagonist transmission device.
Commercial rolling diaphragm cylinders are not able to have stroke to bore ratio greater than 1:1. Using LSRD cylinders of the present disclosure gives the input and output shafts 90-degree rotation capability with 2-inch pulleys compared to 60 degree using commercial rolling diaphragm cylinders with the same bore size. Since no limitation exists regarding stroke length of the LSRD cylinders of the present disclosure the rotation range can be increased using longer stroke cylinders or smaller pulleys based on the application. LSRD cylinders of the present disclosure can retain long diameter pulleys for higher torque, while still attaining long angular displacement. The tests demonstrate satisfactory performance of LSRD cylinders of the present disclosure for applications that need longer stroke lengths.
The friction of the device is comparable to the friction caused by the cylinders at higher pressures because the system stiffens and timing belts tightens. Friction of 155 mN-m and stiffness of 166 mN-m/deg are measured for the device with 275 kPa preload pressure.
Output shaft tracks the input manipulation better at higher pressures, and at 275 kPa the hysteresis approaches zero. Step and impulse tests demonstrate system fast behaviors and show acceptable performance at 275 kPa preload pressure.
The performance of the transmission device in several tests shows that 275 kPa (40 psi) of preload pressure is needed for a satisfactory performance. There is a fully elastomer commercial rolling diaphragm cylinders with longer stroke length, which has a 170-kPa pressure limit. The performance of 170 kPa preloaded system shows that these commercial rolling cylinders are not appropriate to use in this device, and cylinders with higher pressure limit are needed. The performance can be improved by substituting the 3D-printed cylinders with aluminum versions to increase volume efficiency. This device can be used for different applications in robotics from passive wearable robots to telepresence robots. This fixed transmission ratio can be variable by adding on/off valves to the device to control the cylinders'"'"' connection.
Although the present disclosure has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes can be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure. For example, as will be understood in view of the present disclosure, the teachings of this disclosure have many applications including low pressure hydraulic systems in robotics, biomedical, biomechanical and other hydraulic applications.