A Biomimetic Actuator Based on an Ionic Networking Membrane of Poly(styrene-alt-maleimide)-Incorporated Poly(vinylidene fluoride)

Authors

  • Jun Lu,

    1. School of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Chonnam National University 300 Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwang-Ju, 500-757 (Republic of Korea)
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  • Sang-Gyun Kim,

    1. Membranes & Separation Research Center Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology P.O. Box 107, Yuseong, Daejon 305-600 (Republic of Korea)
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  • Sunwoo Lee,

    1. Department of Chemistry, Chonnam National University 300 Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwang-Ju, 500-757 (Republic of Korea)
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  • Il-Kwon Oh

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Chonnam National University 300 Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwang-Ju, 500-757 (Republic of Korea)
    • School of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Chonnam National University 300 Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwang-Ju, 500-757 (Republic of Korea).===

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  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the Basic Research Program of the Korea Science & Engineering Foundation (Grant No: R01-2005-000-10848-0) for financial support of this research. The authors extend their gratitude to Mr. J.-H. Jeon and Mr. S.-W. Yeom for valuable discussions in performing the electromechanical tests. J. Lu thanks the Brain Korea 21 Project in Republic of Korea for a postdoctoral fellowship.

Abstract

A novel electro-active polymer actuator employing the ionic networking membrane of poly(styrene-alt-maleimide) (PSMI)-incorporated poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) was developed to improve the electrical and mechanical performance of the artificial muscles. The main drawback of the previous ionic polymer-metal composite actuator was the straightening-back and relaxation under the constant voltage excitation. The present ionic networking membrane actuator overcomes the relaxation of the ionic polymer-metal composite actuator under the constant voltage and also shows much larger tip displacement than that of the Nafion-based actuator. Under the simple harmonic stimulus, the measured mechanical displacement was comparable to that of the Nafion-based actuator. The excellent electromechanical response of the current polymer actuator is attributed to two factors: the inherent large ionic-exchange capacity and the unique hydrophilic nano-channels of the ionic networking membrane. The electro-active polymer actuator of PSMI-incorporated PVDF can be a promising smart material and may possibly diversify niche applications in biomimetic motion.

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