Electro-active polymers (EAPs) such as P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) was demonstrated to be greatly promising in the field of flexible sensors and actuators. The advantages of using EAPs for smart electrical devices are due to their low cost, elastic properties, low density and ability to be manufactured into various shapes and thicknesses. In earlier years, terpolymer P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE), attracted many researchers due to its relaxor-ferroelectric property that exhibits high electrostriction phenomena. Although their attractiveness, this class of materials still owns the main technological constrain of high electric fields required for their actuation (≥ 30 V/μm, about), which inevitably leads to high level of leakage current and thus short life-time. This paper will demonstrate that an alternative approach is possible. Working on the pure terpolymer P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) matrix, dedicated electro-thermal treatments are introduced in the film fabrication process in order to limit the conduction mechanisms at high electric fields. Reduction in high-voltage leakage current of 80% are achieved for a wide range of actuation electric fields (up to 90 V/μm), and a 4-fold extension in timeto-breakdown are measured for actuation electric field of 40 V/μm
Electro-active polymers (EAPs) such as P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) was demonstrated to be greatly promising in the field of flexible sensors and actuators, but their low dielectric strength driven by ionic conductivity is main concern for achieving high electrostrictive performance. The well-known quadratic dependence of applied electric field on strain response as well as mechanical energy density highlights the importance of improving EAPs electrical breakdown while reducing the leakage current. This paper demonstrates that by controlling processing parameters of polymer synthesis and fabrication procedure, it is possible to drastically increase the electrical breakdown and decrease the ionic conductivity, giving rise to an enhancement in breakdown voltage of around 64% and a reduction in leakage current intensity of 73% at 30V/μm. Effect of polymer crystallinity, molecular mass, as well as crystallization temperature on leakage current were also investigated..