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Forced and free displacement characterization of ionic polymer transducers
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Paper Abstract

Ionic polymer transducers (IPT), sometimes referred to as artificial muscles, are known to generate a large bending strain and a moderate stress at low applied voltages (<5V). Recently Akle and Leo[1] reported extensional actuation in ionic polymer transducers. In this study, extensional IPTs are characterized under forced and free displacement boundary condition as a function of transducer architecture. The electrode thickness is varied from 10 μm up to 40 μm while three extensional actuators with Lithium, Cesium, and tetraethylammonium (TEA) mobile cations are characterized. Three fixtures are built in order to characterize the extensional actuation response. The first fixture measures the free displacement of an IPT sample sandwiched between two aluminum plates glued using the electrically conductive silver paste. In the second fixture a spring is compressed against the test sample with variable amounts to generate different levels of pre-stress and prevents the bending of the IPT. In the third fixture dead weights are placed on top of the sample in order to prevent bending. In the spring loaded fixture a thermocouple is placed in the proximity of the actuator and temperature is measured. The different transducers are characterized using a step voltage input and an alternating current (AC) sine wave input. The step input resulted in a logarithmic rise like displacement curve, while the low frequency (<0.1 Hz) AC excitation generated a sine wave displacement response with a strong first harmonic. The high frequency AC excitation generated a response similar to that of the step input. Comparing the measured temperature for step and AC response demonstrated that the sample is heating up when exited with a high frequency signal; which is leading to the expansion of the sample. Initial experimental results demonstrate a strong correlation between electrode architecture and the peak strain response. Strains on the order of 2% are observed with air stable ionic liquid based transducers. A correlation between the strain and charge buildup in the polymer is also characterized. Cesium (Cs) mobile cation outperformed all other tested mobile charges, while Potassium displaced the least. Keywords: Ionic Polymers, Transducer, Actuator, Electroactive Polymer, Extensional Actuator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 April 2009
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7287, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2009, 72870N (6 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.815848
Show Author Affiliations
Barbar J. Akle, Lebanese American Univ. (Lebanon)
Andrew Duncan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Etienne Akle, Lebanese American Univ. (Lebanon)
Thomas Wallmersperger, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Donald J. Leo, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7287:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2009
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Thomas Wallmersperger, Editor(s)

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