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Proceedings Paper

Sequential growth for lifetime extension in biomimetic polypyrrole actuator systems
Author(s): J. C. Sarrazin; Stephen A. Mascaro
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Paper Abstract

Electroactive polymers (EAPs) present prospective use in actuation and manipulation devices due to their low electrical activation requirements, biocompatibility, and mechanical performance. One of the main drawbacks with EAP actuators is a decrease in performance over extended periods of operation caused by over-oxidation of the polymer and general polymer degradation. Synthesis of the EAP material, polypyrrole with an embedded metal helix allows for sequential growth of the polymer during operation. The helical metal electrode acts as a scaffolding to support the polymer, and direct the 3-dimensional change in volume of the polymer along the axis of the helix during oxidative and reductive cycling. The metal helix also provides a working metal electrode through the entire length of the polymer actuator to distribute charge for actuation, as well as for sequential growth steps during the lifetime of operation of the polymer. This work demonstrates the method of sequential growth can be utilized after extended periods of use to partially restore electrical and mechanical performance of polypyrrole actuators. Since the actuation must be temporarily stopped to allow for a sequential growth cycle to be performed and reverse some of the polymer degradation, these actuator systems more closely mimic natural muscle in their analogous maintenance and repair.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 2015
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 943018 (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084111
Show Author Affiliations
J. C. Sarrazin, The Univ. of Utah (United States)
Stephen A. Mascaro, The Univ. of Utah (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9430:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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