Fluid-Structure Coupling Model and Experimental Validation of Interaction between Pneumatic Soft Actuator and Lower Limb

Dong Guan, Rong Liu, Chengwei Fei, Shumi Zhao, Lingxiao Jing

    Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Pneumatic soft actuators (PSAs) are components that produce predesigned motion or force in different end-use devices. PSAs are lightweight, flexible, and compatible in human-machine interaction. The use of PSAs in compression therapy has proven promising in proactive pressure delivery with a wide range of dosages for treatment of chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema. However, effective design and control of PSAs for dynamic pressure delivery have not been fully elaborated. The purpose of this study is to explore interactive working mechanisms between a PSA and lower limbs through establishing fluid-structure coupling models, an intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) testing system, and conducting experimental validation. The developed IPC testing system consisted of a PSA unit (multichambered bladders laminated with an external textile shell), a pneumatic controller, and various real-time pressure monitoring sensors and accessory elements. The established coupling model characterized the dynamic response process with varying design parameters of the PSA unit, and demonstrated that the design of initial thickness, stiffness, and air mass flow of the PSA, as well as stiffness of limb tissues of the users, influenced PSA-lower limb interactions and resultant pressure dosages. The simulated results presented a favorable agreement with the experimental data collected by the IPC testing system. This study enhanced understanding of PSA-lower limb interactive working mechanisms and provided an evidence-based technical guidance for functional design of PSA. These results contribute to improving the efficacy of dynamic compression therapy for promotion of venous hemodynamics and user compliance in practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)627-638
    Number of pages12
    JournalSoft Robotics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


    • compression therapy
    • experimental validation
    • fluid-structure coupling model
    • lower limb
    • pneumatic soft actuator

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Biophysics
    • Artificial Intelligence


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