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Proceedings Paper

Electroactive polymers (EAP) low-mass muscle actuators
Author(s): Yoseph Bar-Cohen; T. Xue; Benjamin Joffe; Shyh-Shiuh Lih; Mohsen Shahinpoor; Joycelyn S. Harrison; Joseph G. Smith; P. Willis
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Paper Abstract

Actuation devices are used for many space applications with an increasing need to reduce their size, mass, and power consumption as well as cut their cost. Existing transducing actuators, such as piezoceramics, induce limited displacement levels. Potentially, electroactive polymers (EAP) have the potential for low-mass, low-power, inexpensive miniature muscle actuators that are superior to the widely used actuators. Under electrical excitation, EAPs contract and thus form a basis for muscle actuators. Efforts are being made to develop EAP materials that provide large displacements, and two EAP categories were identified to produce actuation strain of more than 10%. These categories include: (1) ion-exchange membrane --platinum composite polymer (so-called ionomers); and (2) electrostatically driven polymers. A comparison between EAP and the widely used transducing actuators shows that, while lagging in force delivering capability, these materials are superior in mass, power consumption and displacement levels. This produces an enabling technology of a new class of devices. Several muscle configurations were constructed to demonstrate the capabilities of these EAP actuators. The emphasis of this manuscript is on ionomer actuators.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 June 1997
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 3041, Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, (6 June 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.275721
Show Author Affiliations
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
T. Xue, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Benjamin Joffe, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Shyh-Shiuh Lih, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Mohsen Shahinpoor, Univ. of New Mexico (United States)
Joycelyn S. Harrison, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Joseph G. Smith, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
P. Willis, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3041:
Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems
Mark E. Regelbrugge, Editor(s)

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