A model has been developed to design a new active, steerable end-effector for minimally invasive surgery. Active material is incorporated into the surgical instrument to increase the degrees of freedom available to the surgeon. This paper focuses on the modeling of the end-effector using both piezoelectric ceramic and electroactive polymer (EAP) materials. The end-effector design consists of a number of bimorph actuator sections in series with each active layer being individually controlled. Each section may behave as either a bimorph or a unimorph actuator, where in the case of unimorph one of the active layers is passive. By varying the strength and direction of the electric field across each section, a prescribed overall shape can be achieved to allow the user to steer the device. The piezoceramic device is modeled using strain energy methods to predict the quasi-static force-deflection behavior. In the EAP model, experimental data for the electrostrictive P(VDF-TrFE) copolymer is used to model the non-linear relationship between the electric field and the induced strain. Due to the large deflections achievable with the EAP, a model for large deflections beams is also used. Modeling is carried out using MATLAB and then the behavior of piezoelectric ceramic is compared to that of electro-active polymer (EAP).

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