Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering


Ocean Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen Licht


This project aimed to advance the deployment opportunities of soft grippers by providing a technique to quantitatively evaluate the loading distribution of a manipulator. In an underwater environment, soft grippers show great promise as they provide a means of delicate manipulation that has been claimed to largely surpasses the capabilities of traditional rigid grippers. The inherent compliance of soft grippers passively eliminates accidental shock and point loading; however, this compliant mechanic also complicates the quantitative assessment of measuring and mapping the loading exerted by a soft gripper. Knowing the loading distribution of a soft gripper would provide a numerical means to justify the claim of capability superiority over a traditional mechanical gripper. This project successfully proved that a pressure-sensitive film could capture the maximum load distribution of a fluid elastomer actuator aided granular jamming gripper in an underwater environment. Analysis of the distribution loading shows that this gripper exerted a maximum pressure loading which saturated the ultra extreme low film (>50.3 kPa) in small regions where granular point loading was observed, while SPI’s Topaq Analysis reported the average pressure to be 29.13 kPa. This jamming gripper was designed to be field-interchangeable with the Blue Robotics Newton Gripper which shows average pressure loadings up to three times greater than the jamming gripper.



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