Enhancing the deformation range of ionic polymer metal composites through electrostatic actuation

A. Boldini, K. Jose, Y. Cha, M. Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The large range of deformations of ionic polymer metal composites (IPMCs) has often been proposed as a key advantage of these soft active materials. Nevertheless, many applications in soft robotics still cannot be addressed by current IPMC technology, demanding an even wider deformation range. Here, we empirically demonstrate the feasibility of integrating electrostatic actuation to enhance IPMC deformations. Through the use of external contactless electrodes, an electrostatic pressure is generated on the IPMC, thereby magnifying the deformation elicited by the small voltage applied across its electrodes. A mathematical model is established to predict the onset of the pull-in instability, which defines when electrostatic actuation can be effectively utilized to enhance IPMC performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number261903
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 25
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OISE-1545857 and by KIST flagship program under Project No. 2E28250.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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