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1 April 2015 Strain-dependent characterization of electrode and polymer network of electrically activated polymer actuators
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Fecal incontinence describes the involuntary loss of bowel content and affects about 45 % of retirement home residents and overall more than 12 % of the adult population. Artificial sphincter implants for treating incontinence are currently based on mechanical systems with failure rates resulting in revision after three to five years. To overcome this drawback, artificial muscle sphincters based on bio-mimetic electro-active polymer (EAP) actuators are under development. Such implants require polymer films that are nanometer-thin, allowing actuation below 24 V, and electrodes that are stretchable, remaining conductive at strains of about 10 %. Strain-dependent resistivity measurements reveal an enhanced conductivity of 10 nm compared to 30 nm sputtered Au on silicone for strains higher than 5 %. Thus, strain-dependent morphology characterization with optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy could demonstrate these phenomena. Cantilever bending measurements are utilized to determine elastic/viscoelastic properties of the EAP films as well as their long-term actuation behavior. Controlling these properties enables the adjustment of growth parameters of nanometer-thin EAP actuators.
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Tino Töpper, Bekim Osmani, Florian M. Weiss, Carla Winterhalter, Fabian Wohlfender, Vanessa Leung, and Bert Müller "Strain-dependent characterization of electrode and polymer network of electrically activated polymer actuators", Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 94300B (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084595;

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