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27 July 2004 Ionic liquids as novel solvents for ionic polymer transducers
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The use of ionic liquids as solvents for ionic polymer (specifically, Nafion) transducers is demonstrated. Ionic liquids are attractive for this application because of their high inherent stability. Ionic liquids are salts that exist as liquids at room temperature and have no measureable vapor pressure. Therefore, the use of ionic liquids as solvents for ionic polymer transducers can eliminate the traditional problem of water evaporation in these devices. Another benefit of the use of ionic liquids in this way is the reduction or elimination of the characteristic back-relaxation common in water-solvated ionic polymer actuators. The results demonstrate that the viscosity of the ionic liquid and the degree to which the ionic liquid swells the membrane are the important physical parameters to consider. Five ionic liquids were studied, based on substituted pyrrolidinium, phosphonium, or imidazolium cations and fluoroanions. Of these five ionic liquids, transduction is demonstrated in three of them and the best results are obtained with 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate ionic liquid. This substance has an electrochemical stability window of 4.1 V, a melting point of -10 °C, and a viscosity of 35-45 cP [19]. Results demonstrate that platinum-plated Nafion transducers solvated with this ionic liquid exhibit sensing and actuation responses and that these transducers are stable in air. Endurance testing of this sample reveals a decrease in the free strain of only 25 % after 250,000 actuation cycles in air.
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Matthew D. Bennett and Donald J. Leo "Ionic liquids as novel solvents for ionic polymer transducers", Proc. SPIE 5385, Smart Structures and Materials 2004: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (27 July 2004);

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