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9 April 2010 Bistable electroactive polymers (BSEP): large-strain actuation of rigid polymers
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Reversible, large-strain, bistable actuation has been a lasting puzzle in the pursuit of smart materials and structures. Conducting polymers are bistable, but the achievable strain is small. Large deformations have been achieved in dielectric elastomers at the expense of mechanical strength. The gel or gel-like soft polymers generally have elastic moduli around or less than 10 MPa. The deformed polymer relaxes to its original shape once the applied electric field is removed. We report new, bistable electroactive polymers (BSEP) that are capable of electrically actuated strains as high as 335% area strain. The BSEP could be useful for constructing rigid structures. The structures can support high mechanical loads, and be actuated to large-strain deformations. We will present one unique application of the BSEP for Braille displays that can be quickly refreshed and maintain the displayed contents without a bias voltage.
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Zhibin Yu, Xiaofan Niu, Paul Brochu, Wei Yuan, Huafeng Li, Bin Chen, and Qibing Pei "Bistable electroactive polymers (BSEP): large-strain actuation of rigid polymers", Proc. SPIE 7642, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2010, 76420C (9 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.847756;

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