Ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) electromechanical and mechanoelectrical phenomena for rectangular and tube-shaped IPMC devices have been examined through simulation and experimental investigation. There is a specific focus on investigating the anion and cation effects in actuation versus sensing. Simulations were performed using COMSOL Multiphysics 4.3b. Sample IPMCs were fabricated in lab in the desired geometries by techniques described herein. The sample sizes were roughly 1 mm thick and 20-25 mm in length. Actuation and sensor experiments were performed with the samples and compared to simulation results, which exhibit good agreement for voltage and tip displacement measurements. Fundamental differences in the electromechanical and mechanoelectrical transductions of IPMCs are highlighted in the simulation results. These results display the negligible effect of anion motion in actuation as compared to during sensing. In actuation, the cation motion is dominated by an electric potential flux, and the anions move only slightly in accordance with the deformed polymer membrane. In sensing, the electric potential is induced by the ionic migration in the polymer, and both cation and anion concentration variations are of similar magnitudes.
Ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) has been examined through simulation and experimental tests as a material
for use in multi degree of freedom (DOF) sensor applications. Mechanoelectrical transduction, the ability to generate
current from imposed mechanical deformation, enables IPMCs to be applied as sensor devices. This phenomenon
has been reported and is reasonably well described by various models. In this study, a physics-based model is
applied to predict performance of an IPMC sensor over a range of conditions. Configuration of our interest is
cylindrical IPMC with 2-DOF mechanoelectrical sensor capabilities. The prototype of cylindrical IPMC has an outer
diameter of 1 mm and a 25 mm length. Application of deformation induced voltage of the fabricated cylindrical
IPMCs as a means of mechanoelectrical transduction have been simulated and experimentally verified. The
performance of the prototype IPMC under several operating conditions was also analyzed, and experimental results
have provided keen insight into the physical phenomenon of mechanoelectical IPMC transduction.