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Study and characterization of ionic conductive polymers used as artificial muscles: proposals for performance improvement

Grant number: 18/07001-6
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2018 - September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Carlos Henrique Scuracchio
Grantee:Carlos Henrique Scuracchio
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


IPMCs (Ionomeric Polymer-Metal Composites) have attracted attention because of their ability to transform deformational energy into electrical energy and vice versa. This capability enables the material to be used both as a mechanical actuator ("artificial muscle") and in strain sensors. Among the advantages of this system over conventional actuators and sensors the main ones are its lightness, possibility of miniaturization and, in the case of artificial muscles, smooth movements similar to those performed by living organisms. These systems, among other characteristics, must be tolerant to failures in large deformations and for a large number of cycles, in order to guarantee their reliability in use. However, its extensive use in both robotic and sensing systems is still limited by some factors, such as:i) high sensitivity of the IPMC response to environmental conditions, mainly relative humidity, hindering the prediction of its behavior;ii) traditional manufacture with noble metal electrodes, which can suffer damages and fatigue during its performance, reducing the reliability of the component in high number of cycles, besides high cost and difficult to large scale production;iii) lack of physical and mathematical models that predict the behavior of these components under different conditions, both environmental and low and high deformations. Among the main factors that still lack a reasonable explanation is the phenomenon of reverse relaxation.The objective of this work is to better understand the operation of these devices, which, despite having simple construction, present a very complex behavior, proposing viable alternatives to minimize the problems listed above. Some possible solutions to the above problems are proposed, but others may still arise in the development of the project.Among the studies that must be performed, are the study of the influence of the cation type on the behavior of the IPMC. The use of ionic liquids, for example, has been presented as an interesting alternative to decrease the dependence of the behavior of the material to environmental conditions.Another proposed study is the choice of electrodes made with alternative materials, more tolerant to large deformations, such as conductive rubber.In order to improve the prediction of the behavior of the component, this project proposes a study of viscoelastic behavior, little explored in the literature. This study will have as main objective to verify the role of the viscoelastic behavior of the polymer in the phenomenon of reverse relaxation. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SACCARDO, MATHEUS COLOVATI; ZUQUELLO, ARIEL GUSTAVO; TOZZI, KAIQUE AFONSO; GONCALVES, ROGER; HIRANO, LAOS ALEXANDRE; SCURACCHIO, CARLOS HENRIQUE. Counter-ion and humidity effects on electromechanical properties of Nafion (R)/Pt composites. Materials Chemistry and Physics, v. 244, APR 1 2020. Web of Science Citations: 1.

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