In this research, a concept of earthworm-like robot with fluidic flexible matrix composite (F2MC) segments as its actuators is investigated. It explores a novel application of F2MC in the bionics field. Firstly, a general kinematics model of robot with earthworm-like locomotion is developed. Based on this model, the locomotion mechanism is analyzed in order to determine the actuation performance requirement for the F2MC segment. Then an analytical model of the F2MC segment is adopted to estimate the finite deformation under internal pressurization. By doing so, the optimal configuration of the F2MC segment that meets the requirements as an actuator is determined. A conceptual design of the earthworm-like robot based on F2MC segment is presented. After that, robotic gaits are constructed based on the kinematic locomotion mechanism with some necessary physical assumptions. Directed locomotion can be achieved based on the constructed gaits. Aiming at increasing the average velocity and motion efficiency of the robot, locomotion gaits are optimized. Optimal gaits corresponding to the maximal velocity and maximal locomotion efficiency are obtained, respectively.

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