Special Issue "Electroactive Polymer Actuators"

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Brittany Newell
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Polytechnic Institute School of Engineering Technology, Purdue University, 401 N. Grant St., West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Interests: electroactive polymers; sensors; actuators; additive manufacturing; flexible circuits

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Electroactive polymers represent an exciting and unique subset of materials that have garnered great interest over the last decade due to their ability to mechanically actuate in response to an applied electric field or to store energy acquired from mechanical deformation of the polymer structure. These materials have potential as sensors through their electrical response to deformation, in energy harvesting, and as actuators. Due to their versatility, electroactive polymers have application in various areas including textiles, robotics, aerospace, and in the medical sector. Therefore, this Special Issue invites articles on the synthesis of electroactive materials, electromechanical testing, material and design optimization, modelling, and real-world applications of these materials.

Dr. Brittany Newell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Actuators is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • electroactive polymer materials
  • flexible sensors
  • polymer actuators
  • dielectric elastomer
  • ionic electroactive polymers
  • artificial muscles
  • conducting polymers
  • polymer gels
  • ionic polymer metal composites

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Underwater Bending Actuator Based on Integrated Anisotropic Textile Materials and a Conductive Hydrogel Electrode
Actuators 2021, 10(10), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/act10100270 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Electroactive polymers (EAPs), especially dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs), belong to a very promising and emerging class of functional materials. While DEAs are mostly utilized to rely on carbon-based electrodes, there are certain shortcomings of the use of carbon electrodes in the field of [...] Read more.
Electroactive polymers (EAPs), especially dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs), belong to a very promising and emerging class of functional materials. While DEAs are mostly utilized to rely on carbon-based electrodes, there are certain shortcomings of the use of carbon electrodes in the field of soft robotics. In this work we present a fish-like bending structure to serve as possible propulsion element, completely avoiding carbon-based electrodes. The presented robot is moving under water, using a particularly tailored conductive hydrogel as inner electrode and a highly anisotropic textile material to manipulate the bending behavior of the robot. The charge separation to drive two DEAs on the outsides of the robot is provided by the conductive hydrogel while the surrounding water serves as counter electrode. To characterize the hydrogel, tensile tests and impedance spectroscopy are used as measurement methods of choice. The performance of the robot was evaluated using a digital image correlation (DIC) measurement for its bending deflections under water. The developed fish-like robot was able to perform a dynamic bending movement, based on a tri-stable actuator setup. The performed measurements underpin the sufficient characteristics for an underwater application of conductive hydrogel electrodes as well as the applicability of the robotic concept for under water actuations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electroactive Polymer Actuators)
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Article
Effects of Ferroelectric Fillers on Composite Dielectric Elastomer Actuator
Actuators 2021, 10(7), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/act10070137 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Integrating nano- to micro-sized dielectric fillers to elastomer matrices to form dielectric composites is one of the commonly utilized methods to improve the performance of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs). Barium titanate (BaTiO3) is among the widely used ferroelectric fillers for this [...] Read more.
Integrating nano- to micro-sized dielectric fillers to elastomer matrices to form dielectric composites is one of the commonly utilized methods to improve the performance of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs). Barium titanate (BaTiO3) is among the widely used ferroelectric fillers for this purpose; however, calcium copper titanate CaCu3Ti4O12 (CCTO) has the potential to outperform such conventional fillers. Despite their promising performance, CCTO-based dielectric composites for DEA application are studied to a relatively lower degree. Particularly, the composites are characterized for a comparably small particle loading range, while critical DEA properties such as breakdown strength and nonlinear elasticity are barely addressed in the literature. Thus, in this study, CCTO was paired with polydimethylsiloxane (CH3)3SiO[Si(CH3)2O]nSi(CH3)3 (PDMS), Sylgard 184, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the effects of particle loading and size on the dielectric composite properties important for DEA applications. The dielectric composites’ performance was described through the figures of merit (FOMs) that consider materials’ Young’s modulus, dielectric permittivity, and breakdown strength. The optimum amounts of the ferroelectric filler were determined through the FOMs to maximize composite DEA performance. Lastly, electromechanical testing of the pre-stretched CCTO-composite DEA validated the improved performance over the plain elastomer DEA, with deviations from prediction attributed to the studied composites’ nonlinearity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electroactive Polymer Actuators)
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Article
Design, Manufacturing, and Characterization of Thin, Core-Free, Rolled Dielectric Elastomer Actuators
Actuators 2021, 10(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/act10040069 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1245
Abstract
In this work, we develop a coreless rolled dielectric elastomer actuator (CORDEA) to be used as artificial muscles in soft robotic structures. The new CORDEA concept is based on a 50 µm silicone film with screen-printed electrodes made of carbon black suspended in [...] Read more.
In this work, we develop a coreless rolled dielectric elastomer actuator (CORDEA) to be used as artificial muscles in soft robotic structures. The new CORDEA concept is based on a 50 µm silicone film with screen-printed electrodes made of carbon black suspended in polydimethylsiloxane. Two printed silicone films are stacked together and then tightly rolled in a spiral-like structure. Readily available off-the-shelf components are used to implement both electrical and mechanical contacts. A novel manufacturing process is developed to enable the production of rolled actuators without a hollow core, with a focus on simplicity and reliability. In this way, actuator systems with high energy density can be effectively achieved. After presenting the design, an experimental evaluation of the CORDEA electromechanical behavior is performed. Finally, actuator experiments in which the CORDEA is pre-loaded with a mass load and subsequently subject to cycling voltage are illustrated, and the resulting performance is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electroactive Polymer Actuators)
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