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16 July 2001 Development of three-dimensional polymeric artificial muscles
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All commercially available (as-received) perfluorinated ion- exchange membranes are in the form of hydrolyzed polymers and are semi-crystalline containing ionic clusters. Their typical thickness is in the range of approximately 100-300 micrometer. Such a thin thickness of commercially available membrane permits fast mass transfer for use in various chemical processes. Although ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) artificial muscles made with these ion-exchange membranes have shown a great potential to produce large displacements and high force densities (maximum force greater than 40 times of its own weight), achieving large forces to be utilized in many practical devices requires manufacturing and fabrication of three dimensional electroactive materials. Knowing that such as-received semi-crystalline membranes are not melt-processable, they are not suitable for the fabrication of 3D electroactive materials or other composite forms. In this work, the authors report a newly developed fabrication method that can scale-up the IPMC artificial muscles in a strip size of milli-to-centi-meter thickness. We have adopted a recently developed technique by Moor et al. For dissolving as- received ion-exchange membranes in appropriate solvents. By carefully evaporating solvents out of the solution, recasted ion-exchange membranes were obtained. The test results showed that a successfully fabricated IPMC strip in a size of 2 mm thickness, 5-mm width, and 15-mm length, produces generative forces (tip forces) more than 20 g-force up to approximately a half centimeter-displacement under a small voltage.
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Kwang J. Kim and Mohsen Shahinpoor "Development of three-dimensional polymeric artificial muscles", Proc. SPIE 4329, Smart Structures and Materials 2001: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, (16 July 2001);

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