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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11(1), 52-66; doi:10.3390/ijms11010052

Active Polymer Gel Actuators

1,* , 1
1 Department of Applied Physics, Waseda University, 3-4-1 Okubo Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-8555, Japan 2 Department of Materials Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 135-8656, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2009 / Revised: 25 December 2009 / Accepted: 28 December 2009 / Published: 5 January 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biomimetics and Materials Design)
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Many kinds of stimuli-responsive polymer and gels have been developed and applied to biomimetic actuators or artificial muscles. Electroactive polymers that change shape when stimulated electrically seem to be particularly promising. In all cases, however, the mechanical motion is driven by external stimuli, for example, reversing the direction of electric field. On the other hand, many living organisms can generate an autonomous motion without external driving stimuli like self-beating of heart muscles. Here we show a novel biomimetic gel actuator that can walk spontaneously with a wormlike motion without switching of external stimuli. The self-oscillating motion is produced by dissipating chemical energy of oscillating reaction. Although the gel is completely composed of synthetic polymer, it shows autonomous motion as if it were alive.
Keywords: polymer gel; polymer actuator; oscillating reaction polymer gel; polymer actuator; oscillating reaction
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Maeda, S.; Hara, Y.; Yoshida, R.; Hashimoto, S. Active Polymer Gel Actuators. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2010, 11, 52-66.

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