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Open AccessArticle

A Biomimetic Approach to Increasing Soft Actuator Performance by Friction Reduction

1
Conducting Polymers in Composites and Applications Research Group, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
2
Intelligent Materials and System Lab, Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu, Estonia
3
iCV Research Lab, Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, 50411 Tartu, Estonia
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Faculty of Engineering, Hasan Kalyoncu University, 27100 Gaziantep, Turkey
5
Division of Sensor and Actuator Systems, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(5), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051120
Received: 25 March 2020 / Revised: 28 April 2020 / Accepted: 12 May 2020 / Published: 14 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinspired and Biomimetic Polymers)
While increasing power output is the most straight-forward solution for faster and stronger motion in technology, sports, or elsewhere, efficiency is what separates the best from the rest. In nature, where the possibilities of power increase are limited, efficiency of motion is particularly important; the same principle can be applied to the emerging biomimetic and bio-interacting technologies. In this work, by applying hints from nature, we consider possible approaches of increasing the efficiency of motion through liquid medium of bilayer ionic electroactive polymer actuations, focusing on the reduction of friction by means of surface tension and hydrophobicity. Conducting polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bilayers were chosen as the model actuator system. The actuation medium consisted of aqueous solutions containing tetramethylammonium chloride and sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate in different ratios. The roles of ion concentrations and the surface tension are discussed. Hydrophobicity of the PET support layer was further tuned by adding a spin-coated silicone layer to it. As expected, both approaches increased the displacement—the best results having been obtained by combining both, nearly doubling the bending displacement. The simple approaches for greatly increasing actuation motion efficiency can be used in any actuator system operating in a liquid medium. View Full-Text
Keywords: PDMS; PET-PPy; bilayer; actuation efficiency; contact angle; hydrophobic surface; reduction of friction PDMS; PET-PPy; bilayer; actuation efficiency; contact angle; hydrophobic surface; reduction of friction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Khuyen, N.Q.; Kiefer, R.; Elhi, F.; Anbarjafari, G.; Martinez, J.G.; Tamm, T. A Biomimetic Approach to Increasing Soft Actuator Performance by Friction Reduction. Polymers 2020, 12, 1120.

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