Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 February 2011
Ionic polymer membrane actuators represent a relatively new and exciting entry into the field of smart materials. Several key limitations of these transducers have prevented them from experiencing widespread use, however. For example, the bandwidth of these devices is limited at very low frequencies by characteristic relaxation and at high frequencies by the low elastic modulus of the polymer. In this paper, an overview of the initial results of work with hybrid ionic / conducting polymer actuators is presented. These hybrid actuators are devices that combine the electromechanical coupling of ionic polymer actuators and conducting polymer actuators into one coupled device. Initial results show that these hybrid devices have the potential to offer marked advantages over traditional ionic polymer membrane transducers, including increased stress and strain generation and higher actuation bandwidth. Details of the preparation of these devices and performance metrics are presented and comparisons to baseline materials are made.
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