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Polypyrrole stretchable actuators

Authors

  • Wen Zheng,

    1. Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, AIIM Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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  • Gursel Alici,

    1. School of Mechanical, Materials, and Mechatronic Engineering, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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  • Philip R. Clingan,

    1. Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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  • Bridget J. Munro,

    1. Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, AIIM Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
    2. Biomechanics Research Laboratory, School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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  • Geoffrey M. Spinks,

    Corresponding author
    1. Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, AIIM Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
    2. School of Mechanical, Materials, and Mechatronic Engineering, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
    • Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, AIIM Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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  • Julie R. Steele,

    1. Biomechanics Research Laboratory, School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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  • Gordon G. Wallace

    1. Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, AIIM Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
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Abstract

Here, we report a simple way to prepare stretchable polypyrrole (PPy)-based actuator materials that can be operated over a wide dynamic strain range and generate useable actuation displacements and pressures. The stretchable actuators were prepared as a laminated composite of PPy and a gold-coated roughened rubber sheet. By manipulating the corrugated surface of the rubber substrate, the stretchability of PPy was greatly improved. Gold-coated rubbers could be stretched to 30% without significant change in electrical resistance. The corrugated PPy/gold/rubber laminates successfully showed ∼1% of actuation strain even when prestretched to 24%. The actuation strains were smaller than for similar free-standing PPy films and a detailed analysis of the effects of corrugation and of the rubber substrate are presented to predict actuation strain under various prestretch strains. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2013

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