Electroadhesion for soft adhesive pads and robotics: theory and numerical results
Soft adhesive pads are needed for many robotics applications, and one approach is based on electroadhesion. Here we present a general analytic model and numerical results for electroadhesion for soft solids with an arbitrary time-dependent applied voltage, and an arbitrary dielectric response of the solids, and including surface roughness. We consider the simplest coplanar-plate-capacitor model with a periodic array of conducting strips located close to the surface of the adhesive pad, and discuss the optimum geometrical arrangement to obtain the maximal electroadhesion force. For surfaces with roughness the (non-contact) gap between the solids will strongly influence the electroadhesion, and we show how the electroadhesion force can be calculated using a contact mechanics theory for elastic solids. The theory and models we present can be used to optimize the design of adhesive pads for robotics application.