28 July 2003 Exploiting conducting polymer fiber radial expansion for bio-inspired actuation
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Following the biological paradigm, artificial polymeric systems considered as candidates for actuation applied to biomedical devices and systems were tested taking into account longitudinal strain as a result of energy conversion from external sources. Among them, dielectric elastomers show good mechanical performances, but they require very high voltages for the driving, on the order of kilovolts, which are not suitable for devices that are in contact with biological systems. Conducting polymers work in a voltage range much more reasonable, but they show only few percents of longitudinal strain. On the other hand, it is known that, for instance, in a planar configuration of DBS-doped polypyrrole, the longest dimension undergoes a dimensional change of 0.5% up to 4% while the shortest one has a strain of roughly 35%. In this work, we discuss the latest advances concerning conducting polymer based devices and assess the worth of exploiting the interesting properties characterizing the radial strain of conducting polymer fibers rather than the axial strain. We also describe a possible method able to convert radial to longitudinal strain via a braided mesh acting as a merely mechanical transducer or even as a strain amplifier. The described technical improvements and observations, together with a voltage drop range acceptable for biomedical applications, give conducting polymers a new appeal for this kind of utilization and promise new interesting applications.
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Walter Rocchia, Walter Rocchia, Alberto Mazzoldi, Alberto Mazzoldi, Giorgio Serra, Giorgio Serra, Danilo De Rossi, Danilo De Rossi, "Exploiting conducting polymer fiber radial expansion for bio-inspired actuation", Proc. SPIE 5051, Smart Structures and Materials 2003: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (28 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.484328; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.484328

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