With advantages of low driving voltage, good flexibility and high electromechanical efficiency, ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs), which are one of the most attractive smart materials, have been research hotspot in actuators, sensors and artificial muscles. However, a serious drawback of little deformation of thick IPMC actuator limits its application. In this paper, we fabricated thick porous Nafion membranes by freeze-drying process. A series of Thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and Water uptake (WUP) tests were performed to examine the validity of the freeze-drying process and the pore size and the porosity. Then, the porous IPMCs were fabricated with the freeze-drying processed Nafion membranes by the solution casting and reducing plating. Finally, the IPMC actuators with the dimensions of 25× 5× 1 in millimeters were achieved and tested. The terminal deformation of the porous IPMC actuator increased by 739.7%, compared with the ordinary IPMC actuator with the same dimensions under the driving voltage of 2VDC.
Dongxu Zhao, Dichen Li, Yanjie Wang, Meng Luo, and Hualing Chen, "Large deformation ionic polymer-metal composites actuators based on porous Nafion membranes," Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 979824 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 24, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218888.
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