WIT Press


Electroactive Polymer Artificial Muscles: An Overview

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/DN100311

Volume

138

Pages

12

Page Range

353 - 364

Published

2010

Size

3,131 kb

Author(s)

F. Carpi & D. De Rossi

Abstract

Electroactive polymers as smart actuation materials with muscle-like properties represent an emerging scientific field, bridging material science, mechanical and electrical engineering, and medical disciplines. EAP materials are commonly classified into two major families: ionic EAPs, activated by an electricallyinduced transport of ions and/or solvent, and electronic EAPs, activated by electrostatic forces. This paper provides a brief overview on the field, highlighting fundamental features of the most relevant electroactive polymer technologies currently available. Keywords: actuator, artificial muscle, electroactive, polymer, transducer. 1 Introduction Electroactive Polymers (EAPs) represent a broad family of so-called ‘smart materials’ that are capable of transducing energy from the electrical to the mechanical form, and vice versa. As such, they are used for electro-mechanical actuation and mechano-electrical sensing, as well as mechanical energy harvesting to generate electricity [1-6]. EAPs are significantly studied as actuation materials for ‘artificial muscles’ requiring large mechanical compliance, effective down-scalability, high powerto- weight and power-to-volume ratios and high efficiency, typically precluded to conventional actuation technologies (namely electrostatic, electromagnetic, hydraulic, pneumatic and thermo-chemical motors). EAPs consist of materials capable of changing dimensions and/or shape in response to opportune electrical stimuli. EAP based actuators show useful properties, such as sizable active strains and/or stresses in response to electrical

Keywords

actuator, artificial muscle, electroactive, polymer, transducer