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Materials (Basel). 2017 Jun 21;10(6). pii: E664. doi: 10.3390/ma10060664.

Soft Ionic Electroactive Polymer Actuators with Tunable Non-Linear Angular Deformation.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. hwyj@iastate.edu.
2
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. almomani@iastate.edu.
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. yuanfenc@iastate.edu.
4
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. reihaneh@iastate.edu.
5
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. reza@iastate.edu.
6
Department of Energy, Ames Laboratory, Ames, IA 50011, USA. reza@iastate.edu.

Abstract

The most rational approach to fabricate soft robotics is the implementation of soft actuators. Conventional soft electromechanical actuators exhibit linear or circular deformation, based on their design. This study presents the use of conjugated polymers, Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) to locally vary ion permeability of the ionic electroactive polymer actuators and manipulate ion motion through means of structural design to realize intrinsic angular deformation. Such angular deformations are closer to biomimetic systems and have potential applications in bio-robotics. Electrochemical studies reveal that the mechanism of actuation is mainly associated with the charging of electric double layer (EDL) capacitors by ion accumulation and the PEDOT:PSS layer's expansion by ion interchange and penetration. Dependence of actuator deformation on structural design is studied experimentally and conclusions are verified by analytical and finite element method modeling. The results suggest that the ion-material interactions are considerably dominated by the design of the drop-cast PEDOT:PSS on Nafion.

KEYWORDS:

angular deformation; electromechanical actuators; ionic electroactive polymers; soft materials

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