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Analysis and Modeling of Electro-Mechanical Coupling in an Electroactive Polymer-Based Actuator

  • Thomas A. Bowers (a1), Patrick Anquetil (a2), Ian Hunter (a1) and Neville Hogan (a1)


A non-linear constitutive model was formulated for ionic electroactive polymers (EAP) to describe the energetic coupling between electrical and mechanical domains. The polymer was modeled as a multi-port energy storage element with inputs from the electrical and mechanical domain. Using energy conservation methods, general relationships between stress, strain, voltage, and charge were determined. A solution to the uniaxial loading boundary condition was developed fully and compared to a linear model published by Madden and an electrochemical model published by Mazzoldi et al. Experimental results from a conducting polymer actuator composed of polypyrrole were used to validate the electro-mechanical coupling model. It was found that the correlation between the model and experimental data was very good for strains up to 3% and applied voltages up to 1 Volt; these are within the typical operating range of polypyrrole. The model is sufficiently simply to allow real-time control while also exceeding the linear coupling models in its ability to predict polymer behavior in normal operating ranges.



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1. Baughman, R. H., Synth. Met., 78, 339 (1996).10.1016/0379-6779(96)80158-5
2. Madden, J. D. W., Ph.D. Thesis, MIT, Boston, MA (2000).
3. Mazzoldi, A., Della Santa, A., and De Rossi, D., in Polymer Sensors and Actuators, ed. Osada, Y., and De Rossi, D. (Springer, 2000) pp. 207244.10.1007/978-3-662-04068-3_7
4. Bowers, T. A., S. M. Thesis, MIT, Boston, MA (2004).


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