Preparation and self-assembly of polyaniline nanorods and their application as electroactive actuators



To improve the performance of ion-exchange polymer–metal composite (IPMC) actuators, an electrical pathway material for enhancing the surface adhesion between the membrane and the metal electrodes of the IPMC was studied. As an efficient electrical pathway material, polyaniline nanorods (PANI-NRs) doped with p-toluene sulfonic acid (TSA) were synthesized with a template-free method. The factors affecting polyaniline morphology were studied with various dopant concentrations and oxidant feeding rates. Highly conductive PANI-NRs were formed when they were synthesized with ammonium persulfate at a 5.0 mL/min oxidant feeding rate and doped with 0.125M TSA. The conductivity of the PANI-NRs was 1.15 × 10−1 S/cm, and their diameters and lengths were 120–180 nm and 0.6–2 μm, respectively. To apply the membrane as an actuator, perfluorosulfonated ionomer (Nafion)/PANI-NR blends were prepared by solution blending and casting. The actuating ability of the three-layered membrane consisting of Nafion/PANI-NR blends was then examined and compared with that of Nafion only. The actuating ability of the IPMC was improved when Nafion/PANI-NRs were used as electrical pathways. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010