Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/10168
This work presents a study on the feasibility of incorporating magnetorheological elastomer (MRE) springs in prosthetic devices. MREs are composite materials that consist of micron-sized magnetizable particles embedded in a non-magnetizable elastomer matrix. They have the property of dynamically varying their mechanical properties, notably their stiffness, under the influence of a magnetic field.
The motivating application for this project is a prosthetic foot with an adaptive stiffness MRE spring. The design considerations include high stiffness, large deformations and a wide range between the off-state and on-state stiffness. An initial study of the manufacturing process of MREs is presented and the experimental test setup described. A prototype of a variable stiffness spring is designed and built, based on the initial experimental results and the requirements of a prosthetic foot. An MRE variable stiffness spring is found to have various implications in prosthetic devices, providing real-time controllable stiffness of the devices.