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Morphological and electromechanical characterization of ionic liquid/Nafion polymer composites
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Paper Abstract

Ionic liquids have shown promise as replacements for water in ionic polymer transducers. Ionic liquids are non-volatile and have a larger electrochemical stability window than water. Therefore, transducers employing ionic liquids can be operated for long periods of time in air and can be actuated with higher voltages. Furthermore, transducers based on ionic liquids do not exhibit the characteristic back relaxation that is common with water-swollen materials. However, the physics of transduction in the ionic liquid-swollen materials is not well understood. In this paper, the morphology of Nafion/ionic liquid composites is characterized using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The electromechanical transduction behavior of the composites is also investigated. For this testing, five different counterions and two ionic liquids are used. The results reveal that both the morphology and transduction performance of the composites is affected by the identity of the ionic liquid, the cation, and the swelling level of ionic liquid within the membrane. Specifically, speed of response is found to be lower for the membranes that were exchanged with the smaller lithium and potassium ions. The response speed is also found to increase with increased content of ionic liquid. Furthermore, for the two ionic liquids studied, the actuators swollen with the less viscous ionic liquid exhibited a slower response. The slower speed of response corresponds to less contrast between the ionically conductive phase and the inert phase of the polymer. This suggests that disruption of the clustered morphology in the ionic liquid-swollen membranes as compared to water-swollen membranes attenuates ion mobility within the polymer. This attenuation is attributed to swelling of the non-conductive phase by the ionic liquids.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 May 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5759, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (6 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.599849
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew Bennett, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Donald Leo, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5759:
Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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