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10 April 2008 Plastic MusclesTM as lightweight, low voltage actuators and sensors
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Using proprietary technology, Discover Technologies has developed ionomeric polymer transducers that are capable of long-term operation in air. These "Plastic MuscleTM" transducers are useful as soft distributed actuators and sensors and have a wide range of applications in the aerospace, robotics, automotive, electronics, and biomedical industries. Discover Technologies is developing novel fabrication methods that allow the Plastic MusclesTM to be manufactured on a commercial scale. The Plastic MuscleTM transducers are capable of generating more than 0.5% bending strain at a peak strain rate of over 0.1 %/s with a 3 V input. Because the Plastic MusclesTM use an ionic liquid as a replacement solvent for water, they are able to operate in air for long periods of time. Also, the Plastic MusclesTM do not exhibit the characteristic "back relaxation" phenomenon that is common in water-swollen devices. The elastic modulus of the Plastic MuscleTM transducers is estimated to be 200 MPa and the maximum generated stress is estimated to be 1 MPa. Based on these values, the maximum blocked force at the tip of a 6 mm wide, 35 mm long actuator is estimated to be 19 mN. Modeling of the step response with an exponential series reveals nonlinearity in the transducers' behavior.
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Matthew Bennett, Donald Leo, and Andrew Duncan "Plastic MusclesTM as lightweight, low voltage actuators and sensors", Proc. SPIE 6927, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2008, 69271G (10 April 2008);

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