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Proceedings Paper

Manufacturing of ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) that can actuate into complex curves
Author(s): Boyko L. Stoimenov; Jonathan M. Rossiter; Toshiharu Mukai
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Paper Abstract

Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMC) are soft actuators with potential applications in the fields of medicine and biologically inspired robotics. Typically, an IPMC bends with approximately constant curvature when voltage is applied to it. More complex shapes were achieved in the past by pre-shaping the actuator or by segmentation and separate actuation of each segment. There are many applications for which fully independent control of each segment of the IPMC is not required and the use of external wiring is objectionable. In this paper we propose two key elements needed to create an IPMC, which can actuate into a complex curve. The first is a connection between adjacent segments, which enables opposite curvature. This can be achieved by reversing the polarity applied on each side of the IPMC, for example by a through-hole connection. The second key element is a variable curvature segment. The segment is designed to bend with any fraction of its full bending ability under given electrical input by changing the overlap of opposite charge electrodes. We demonstrated the usefulness of these key elements in two devices. One is a bi-stable buckled IPMC beam, also used as a building block in a linear actuator device. The other one is an IPMC, actuating into an S-shaped curve with gradually increasing curvature near the ends. The proposed method of manufacturing holds promise for a wide range of new applications of IPMCs, including applications in which IPMCs are used for sensing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 April 2007
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6524, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007, 65240T (4 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.715560
Show Author Affiliations
Boyko L. Stoimenov, Biologically Integrative Sensors Lab. (RIKEN) (Japan)
Jonathan M. Rossiter, Biologically Integrative Sensors Lab. (RIKEN) (Japan)
Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Toshiharu Mukai, Biologically Integrative Sensors Lab. (RIKEN) (Japan)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6524:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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