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Title: A compliant mechanism for inspecting extremely confined spaces

Abstract

We present here a novel, compliant mechanism that provides the capability to navigate extremely confined spaces for the purpose of infrastructure inspection. Extremely confined spaces are commonly encountered during infrastructure inspection. Examples of such spaces can include pipes, conduits, and ventilation ducts. Often these infrastructure features go uninspected simply because there is no viable way to access their interior. In addition, it is not uncommon for extremely confined spaces to possess a maze-like architecture that must be selectively navigated in order to properly perform an inspection. Efforts by the imaging sensor community have resulted in the development of imaging sensors on the millimeter length scale. Due to their compact size, they are able to inspect many extremely confined spaces of interest, however, the means to deliver these sensors to the proper location to obtain the desired images are lacking. To address this problem, we draw inspiration from the field of endoscopic surgery. Specifically we consider the work that has already been done to create long flexible needles that are capable of being steered through the human body. These devices are typically referred to as 'steerable needles.' Steerable needle technology is not directly applicable to the problem of navigating maze-like arrangementsmore » of extremely confined spaces, but it does provide guidance on how this problem should be approached. Specifically, the super-elastic nitinol tubing material that allows steerable needles to operate is also appropriate for the problem of navigating maze-like arrangements of extremely confined spaces. Furthermore, the portion of the mechanism that enters the extremely confined space is completely mechanical in nature. The mechanical nature of the device is an advantage when the extremely confined space features environmental hazards such as radiation that could degrade an electromechanically operated mechanism. Here, we present a compliant mechanism developed to navigate maze-like arrangements of extremely confined spaces. The mechanism is shown to be able to selectively navigate past three 90° bends. The ability to selectively navigate extremely confined spaces opens up new possibilities to use emerging miniature imaging technology for infrastructure inspection.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [1];  [4];  [4];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Dept. of Civil Engineering
  3. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  4. Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (United States). Dept. of Computer Science
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1514940
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-24160
Journal ID: ISSN 0964-1726
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Smart Materials and Structures
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 26; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0964-1726
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION

Citation Formats

Mascareñas, David, Moreu, Fernando, Cantu, Precious, Shields, Daniel, Wadden, Jack, El Hadedy, Mohamed, and Farrar, Charles. A compliant mechanism for inspecting extremely confined spaces. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1088/1361-665X/aa9195.
Mascareñas, David, Moreu, Fernando, Cantu, Precious, Shields, Daniel, Wadden, Jack, El Hadedy, Mohamed, & Farrar, Charles. A compliant mechanism for inspecting extremely confined spaces. United States. doi:10.1088/1361-665X/aa9195.
Mascareñas, David, Moreu, Fernando, Cantu, Precious, Shields, Daniel, Wadden, Jack, El Hadedy, Mohamed, and Farrar, Charles. Fri . "A compliant mechanism for inspecting extremely confined spaces". United States. doi:10.1088/1361-665X/aa9195. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1514940.
@article{osti_1514940,
title = {A compliant mechanism for inspecting extremely confined spaces},
author = {Mascareñas, David and Moreu, Fernando and Cantu, Precious and Shields, Daniel and Wadden, Jack and El Hadedy, Mohamed and Farrar, Charles},
abstractNote = {We present here a novel, compliant mechanism that provides the capability to navigate extremely confined spaces for the purpose of infrastructure inspection. Extremely confined spaces are commonly encountered during infrastructure inspection. Examples of such spaces can include pipes, conduits, and ventilation ducts. Often these infrastructure features go uninspected simply because there is no viable way to access their interior. In addition, it is not uncommon for extremely confined spaces to possess a maze-like architecture that must be selectively navigated in order to properly perform an inspection. Efforts by the imaging sensor community have resulted in the development of imaging sensors on the millimeter length scale. Due to their compact size, they are able to inspect many extremely confined spaces of interest, however, the means to deliver these sensors to the proper location to obtain the desired images are lacking. To address this problem, we draw inspiration from the field of endoscopic surgery. Specifically we consider the work that has already been done to create long flexible needles that are capable of being steered through the human body. These devices are typically referred to as 'steerable needles.' Steerable needle technology is not directly applicable to the problem of navigating maze-like arrangements of extremely confined spaces, but it does provide guidance on how this problem should be approached. Specifically, the super-elastic nitinol tubing material that allows steerable needles to operate is also appropriate for the problem of navigating maze-like arrangements of extremely confined spaces. Furthermore, the portion of the mechanism that enters the extremely confined space is completely mechanical in nature. The mechanical nature of the device is an advantage when the extremely confined space features environmental hazards such as radiation that could degrade an electromechanically operated mechanism. Here, we present a compliant mechanism developed to navigate maze-like arrangements of extremely confined spaces. The mechanism is shown to be able to selectively navigate past three 90° bends. The ability to selectively navigate extremely confined spaces opens up new possibilities to use emerging miniature imaging technology for infrastructure inspection.},
doi = {10.1088/1361-665X/aa9195},
journal = {Smart Materials and Structures},
number = 11,
volume = 26,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

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