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5 April 2007 Tri-layer conducting polymer actuators with variable dimensions
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The ability of conducting polymer actuators to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy is influenced by many factors ranging from the actuators physical dimensions to the chemical structure of the conducting polymer. In order to utilise these actuators to their full potential, it is necessary to explore and quantify the effect of such factors on the overall actuator performance. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of various geometrical characteristics such as the actuator width and thickness on the performance of tri-layer polypyrrole (PPy) actuators operating in air, as opposed to their predecessors operating in an appropriate electrolyte. For a constant actuator length, the influence of the actuator width is examined for a uniform thickness geometry. Following this study, the influence of a varied thickness geometry is examined for the optimised actuator width. The performance of the actuators is quantified by examination of the force output, tip displacement, efficiency as a function of electrical power and mechanical power, and time constant for each actuator geometry. It was found that a width of 4mm gave the greatest overall performance without curling along the actuator length (which occurred with widths above 4mm). This curling phenomenon increased the rigidity of the actuator, significantly lowering the displacement for low loads. Furthermore, it was discovered that by focussing a higher thickness of PPy material in certain regions of the actuators length, greater performances in various domains could be achieved. The experimental results obtained set the foundation for us to synthesize PPy actuators with an optimised geometry, allowing their performance to reach full potential for many cutting applications.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Rick Minato, Gürsel Alici, Scott McGovern, and Geoffrey Spinks "Tri-layer conducting polymer actuators with variable dimensions", Proc. SPIE 6524, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007, 65241J (5 April 2007);

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