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Proceedings Paper

Conducting-polymer-driven actively shaped propellers and screws
Author(s): John D. Madden; Bryan Schmid; Serge R. Lafontaine; Peter Geoffrey A. Madden; Franz S Hover; Karl McLetchie; Ian Warwick Hunter
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Paper Abstract

Conducting polymer actuators are employed to create actively shaped hydrodynamic foils. The active foils are designed to allow control over camber, much like the ailerons of an airplane wing. Control of camber promises to enable variable thrust in propellers and screws, increased maneuverability, and improved stealth. The design and fabrication of the active foils are presented, the forces are measured and operation is demonstrated both in still air and water. The foils have a "wing" span of 240 mm, and an average chord length (width) of 70 mm. The trailing 30 mm of the foil is composed of a thin polypyrrole actuator that curls chordwise to achieve variable camber. The actuator consists of two 30 μm thick sheets of hexafluorophosphate doped polypyrrole separated from each other by a gel electrolyte. A polymer layer encapsulates the entire structure. Potentials are applied between the polymer layers to induce reversible bending by approximately 35 degrees, and generating forces of 0.15 N. These forces and displacements are expected to enable operation in water at flow rates of > 1 m/s and ~ 30 m/s in air.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 July 2003
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 5051, Smart Structures and Materials 2003: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (28 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.484417
Show Author Affiliations
John D. Madden, Molecular Mechanisms, LLC (United States)
Bryan Schmid, Molecular Mechanisms, LLC (United States)
Serge R. Lafontaine, Molecular Mechanisms, LLC (United States)
Peter Geoffrey A. Madden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Franz S Hover, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Karl McLetchie, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Ian Warwick Hunter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5051:
Smart Structures and Materials 2003: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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