Traditional vacuum suction and vacuum suction devices don’t do well in rough surfaces due to vacuum leakage, which leads to suction failure. Scientists have addressed this problem and the result is this suction unit which can be used on rough surfaces no matter how textured. This could have applications in the development of climbing robots, as well as robotic arms with grasping capabilities.
Researchers Xin Li and Kaige Shi developed a zero-pressure difference (ZPD) method to enhance the development of vacuum suction units. Their method overcame leakage limitations by using a high-speed rotating water ring between the surface and suction cup to maintain the vacuum. They discuss their work in this week's Physics of Fluids, from AIP Publishing.
"There are many applications of our design, but we think the wall-climbing robot will be the most useful," said Li. "Compared to other wall-climbing robots, the robot with our ZPD-based suction unit achieves surprising improvement in performance."
The suction, however, consumes a lot of water and is connected to a supply, so the next step, according to Li, is to find a way to reduce the water consumption.
(Image Credit: Xin Li and Kaige Shi/ EurekAlert)