Monday, June 29, 2015

Back To Basics

My research group at Vanderbilt is conducting energy efficiency research by examining a pneumatic strain energy accumulator.  Essentially, the accumulator allows us to store energy for a limited amount of time using pneumatics at much lower costs than using traditional batteries.  Often, the energy we’re trying to salvage is energy that would normally go to waste during some kind of a process; for example, the energy lost when a vehicle comes to a stop by applying the brakes.  We’ve designed a number of tests to determine the accumulator’s efficiency as an individual component and as part of a larger system, and to test its durability via fatigue tests.  By learning more about this kind of technology, we hope that our research will one day be used in industrial applications, vehicle design, and even biomedical research, as evident from the accumulator’s more recent successful application in an Ankle Foot Orthosis medical assist device. 

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