Electroactive Polymer Applications
Patents with Abstracts
“EAP materials can be easily manufactured into various shapes due to the ease in processing many polymeric materials, making them very versatile materials. One potential application for EAPs is that they can potentially be integrated into microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to produce smart actuators. As the most prospective practical research direction, EAPs have been utilized in artificial muscles. Their ability to emulate the operation of biological muscles with high fracture toughness, large actuation strain and inherent vibration damping draw the attention of scientists in this field.
In recent years, “electro active polymers for refreshable Braille displays” has emerged to aid the visually impaired in fast reading and computer assisted communication. This concept is based on using an EAP actuator configured in an array form. Rows of electrodes on one side of an EAP film and columns on the other activate individual elements in the array. Each element is mounted with a Braille dot and is lowered by applying a voltage across the thickness of the selected element, causing local thickness reduction. Under computer control, dots would be activated to create tactile patterns of highs and lows representing the information to be read.
Small pumps can also be achieved by applying EAP materials. These pumps could be used for drug delivery, microfluidic devices, active flow control, and a multitude of consumer applications. The most likely configuration for a pump based on actuators would be a dual diaphragm device. The advantages that an ionomeric pump could offer would be low voltage (battery) operation, extremely low noise signature, high system efficiency, and highly accurate control of flow rate.
Another technology that can benefit from the unique properties of EAP actuators is optical membranes. Due to their low modulus, the mechanical impedance of the actuators, they are well-matched to common optical membrane materials. Also, a single EAP actuator is capable of generating displacements that range from micrometers to centimeters. For this reason, these materials can be used for static shape correction and jitter suppression. These actuators could also be used to correct for optical aberrations due to atmospheric interference.
Since these materials exhibit excellent electroactive character, EAP materials show potential in biomimetic-robot research, stress sensors and acoustics field, which will make EAPs become a more attractive study topic in the near future. They have been used for various actuators such as face muscles and arm muscles in humanoid robots”
(Wikipedia, Electroactive Polymer Applications, 7/5/2012)
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Roger D. Corneliussen
Maro Polymer Links
Tel: 610 363 9920
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Copyright 2012 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
No part of this transmission is to be duplicated in any manner or forwarded by electronic mail without the express written permission of Roger D. Corneliussen
* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 7/5/2012.