Pneumatically actuated robotic systems are attractive alternatives to traditional electromechanical systems due to the power density advantage of pneumatic actuators. This assumes that a power source is available to provide the pneumatic supply at a sufficient energy density to compete with batteries. To this end, a high inertance free liquid piston compressor (HIFLPC) was developed as a portable, efficient, compact power supply for pneumatically actuated systems. This paper presents the model-based design and operation of the HIFLPC, as well as the fabrication and evaluation of an experimental prototype of the device. Efficiency, power output, and other operational characteristics of the prototype are experimentally assessed. A validation of the dynamic model developed for the HIFLPC is conducted, and model-based studies are performed to investigate the influence on system performance by varying liquid piston dynamics.

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