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11 April 2017 Development of electrothermal actuator (ETA) with low activation voltage
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Electrothermal actuators (ETAs) are novel active materials that can generate different kinds of motions by thermal expansion induced from Joule heating. The degree of expansion, which influences the deformation and response force, is determined by the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the material. In order for the material to be activated, it is necessary to create conductive network for Joule heating to take place. As a result, one of the most common methods for creating ETAs is to insert high electrical and thermal conductive filler into the matrix, which allows for fast and uniform heat distribution though out the material, thus initiate the actuation. In this study, we present the characterization results of newly developed ETA composites that has ultra-low activation voltage requirement (9V). To create the novel ETA composites, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is coated to conductive networks which are constructed from high electrical conductive fillers such as carbon nanotubes. The actuation performance of the novel ETA composites is characterized in terms of the conductive network distribution, CTE, heat capacity, change in thermal gradient, and its actuation behaviour.
Conference Presentation
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Yu-Chen Sun, Benjamin Leaker, and Hani E. Naguib "Development of electrothermal actuator (ETA) with low activation voltage", Proc. SPIE 10165, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites 2017, 101650Q (11 April 2017);

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