Publication Details

Spinks, G. Maxwell., Xi, B., Campbell, T. E., Whitten, P. G., Mottaghitalab, V., Samani, M. and Wallace, G. G. (2005). In pursuit of high-force/high-stroke conducting polymer actuators. SPIE Smart Structures and Materials and Non-destructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring (pp. 314-321). USA: SPIE International Society for Optical Engineering.


Conducting polymer actuators are being investigated for a number of applications. Both linear contracting/expanding and bending type actuators can be constructed that utilise the redox-induced volume changes in the conducting polymer. Improved actuator performance has been demonstrated by modifications to our helix-tube design. The pitch of the helix and bundling the actuators have increased the strain and force generated. Short-term improvements to the strain were also generated using new dopants, but cycle life was poor in this case. Further studies on the mechanism of actuation have continued to focus attention on the influence of the elastic modulus on the actuation strain. Surprising results have been obtained from polythiophene actuators that show an increased strain and increased work-per-cycle with an increasing applied load in isotonic operation. The observations were explained by an increase in modulus during the contraction cycle of the actuation. Preliminary studies show how the change in modulus can be conveniently measured using an in situ mechanical technique.

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