Adhesion mechanism of space-climbing robot based on discrete element and dynamics

L. Li, L. Sun, S. Jiang, T. Chen, X. Hou, Y. Su, Z. Deng
Advances in Mechanical Engineering
biologically inspired design, coupling simulation, Discrete element method, space robot

According to the on-orbit servicing requirements of spacecraft, this article presents a new type of space-climbing robot that can climb onto the target spacecraft for repairing, rescuing, and removing orbital debris. This robot mobile system is composed of a piezoelectric actuation leg, microadhesive feet, and others. In the environment of zero gravity, the space-climbing robot can cross obstacles through crawling movement and turnover movement. The gripping force of the robot is supplied by the adhesive capacity of the robot feet. The research on its adhesion mechanism is the basis of the robot feet design and motion control. The design of a robot feet microarray structure imitates the adhesion mechanism of gecko seta. Based on the theory of interface micromechanics, we used EDEM software to establish the simulation model of vertical microarrays. This work will simulate the microarray’s attaching and detaching processes with different modes of motion, analyzing each microarray’s adhesive property. In order to make the structure of microarray has ideal adhesive property, microarray parameters including length–diameter ratio and arrangement density of microarray are optimized. By EDEM-ADAMS coupling simulation, the robot can attach to the surface of the spacecraft and verify the adhesion function of the space-climbing robot.

Keywords: Discrete element method, space robot, biologically inspired design, coupling simulation

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