In this paper, we report on the fabrication of a self-sensing electroactive polymer cantilevered bimorph beam actuator and its frequency response. Tip deflections of the beam, induced by applying an AC signal across ferroelectric relaxor polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE)), reached a magnitude of 350μm under a field of ~55MV/m and were recorded externally using a laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV). Deflections were determined simultaneously by applying a sensing model to the voltage measured across the bimorph’s integrated layer of piezoelectric polymer polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). The sensing model treats the structure as a simple Euler- Bernoulli cantilevered beam with two distributed active elements represented through the use of generalized functions and offers a method through which real time tip deflection can be measured without the need for external visualization. When not being used as a sensing element, the PVDF layer can provide an additional means for actuation of the beam via the converse piezoelectric effect, resulting in bidirectional control of the beam's deflections. Integration of flexible sensing elements together with modeling of the electroactive polymer beam can benefit the developing field of polymer microactuators which have applications in soft robotics as "smart" prosthetics/implants, haptic displays, tools for less invasive surgery, and sensing.
Leeya Engel, Kyle R. Van Volkinburg, Moti Ben-David, Gregory N. Washington, Slava Krylov, and Yosi Shacham-Diamand, "Fabrication of a self-sensing electroactive polymer bimorph actuator based on polyvinylidene fluoride and its electrostrictive terpolymer," Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97980M (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 22, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218383.
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