16 July 2001 Novel physically loaded and interlocked electrode developed for ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs)
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Described is a novel fabrication process of manufacturing ionic polymeric metal composites (IPMC's) biomimetic sensors, actuators and artificial muscles equipped with physically loaded and interlocked (PLI) electrodes. The underlying principle of processing this novel PLI-IPMC's is to first physically load a conductive primary powder into the ionic polymer network forming a dispersed particulate layer. This primary layer functions as a major conductive medium. Subsequently, this primary layer of dispersed particles of a conductive material is interlocked within the polymer network with smaller secondary particles via chemical plating, which used reducing agents to load another phase of conductive particles within the first layer. In turn, both primary and secondary particles can be secured within the ionic polymer network and reduce the potential intrinsic contact resistances between large primary particles. Furthermore, electroplating can be applied to integrate the entire primary and secondary conductive phases and serve as another effective interlocking electrode. In this paper we describe the details of this newly developed technique to efficiently produce a PLI-IPMC loaded with spherical silver particles (D10<0.8 micrometers , D50<1.5 micrometers , D90<2.5 micrometers ; Asur<6 m2/g) and subsequently interlocked by palladium (Dp~50nm, via a chemical reducing process). It has been observed that such a PLI-IPMC is quite comparable in performance with the traditional Platinum loaded and Gold electro-plated IPMC's but enjoys a much smaller manufacturing cost. Yet it produces a low surface resistivity (less than 1 (Omega) /square) which is highly desirable in creating more uniform deformation.
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Mohsen Shahinpoor, Kwang J. Kim, "Novel physically loaded and interlocked electrode developed for ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs)", Proc. SPIE 4329, Smart Structures and Materials 2001: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, (16 July 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.432643; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.432643

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