Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Mitja Trkov, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Behrad Koohbor, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Francis Haas, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3

Chen Shen, Ph.D.


soft robotics, compliant materials, architected structures, actuators




Mechanical Engineering


Soft robotic systems composed of highly compliant materials offer unparalleled advantages compared to rigid-body systems in applications such as fragile material handling and human-machine interactions. Often, their motions are prescribed by structural anisotropy and reinforcement materials to directionally limit motion. The continuum motion and non-linear material response intrinsic to soft robotics makes their design, modeling, and control a formidable challenge for engineers. Leveraging the deformation driven response of soft robotic actuators, highly versatile compliant architected structures whose local deformations dictate global material response can be integrated into soft robotic actuators for tunable mechanical responses. In this thesis, flexible center-symmetric perforated structures with strain-dependent Poisson's ratios are investigated for their feasibility in soft robotics. This thesis aims to contribute to the existing literature by developing a novel cell-density graded structure with a near-zero incremental Poisson's ratio, presenting a treatise on the fundamental mechanics and multiscale response of flexible rotating polygon structures, and developing and characterizing novel soft robotic actuators with the aforementioned center-symmetric perforated structures. The results of this thesis demonstrate the feasibility of such architected structures for soft robotics and provides a framework for the development of modular soft robotic actuators with tunable mechanical responses.

Available for download on Saturday, December 10, 2022