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8 March 2014 Bucky gel actuators optimization towards haptic applications
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An ideal plastic actuator for haptic applications should generate a relatively large displacement (minimum 0.2-0.6 mm, force (~50 mN/cm2) and a fast actuation response to the applied voltage. Although many different types of flexible, plastic actuators based on electroactive polymers (EAP) are currently under investigation, the ionic EAPs are the only ones that can be operated at low voltage. This property makes them suitable for applications that require inherently safe actuators. Among the ionic EAPs, bucky gel based actuators are very promising. Bucky gel is a physical gel made by grounding imidazolium ionic liquids with carbon nanotubes, which can then be incorporated in a polymeric composite matrix to prepare the active electrode layers of linear and bending actuators. Anyhow, many conflicting factors have to be balanced to obtain required performance. In order to produce high force a large stiffness is preferable but this limits the displacement. Moreover, the bigger the active electrode the larger the force. However the thicker an actuator is, the slower the charging process becomes (it is diffusion limited). In order to increase the charging speed a thin electrolyte would be desirable, but this increases the probability of pinholes and device failure. In this paper we will present how different approaches in electrolyte and electrode preparation influence actuator performance and properties taking particularly into account the device ionic conductivity (which influences the charging speed) and the electrode surface resistance (which influences both the recruitment of the whole actuator length and its speed).
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Grzegorz Bubak, Alberto Ansaldo, Luca Ceseracciu, Kenji Hata, and Davide Ricci "Bucky gel actuators optimization towards haptic applications", Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 905611 (8 March 2014);

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