Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 42, Issue 16, pp 7031–7041 | Cite as

Direct assembly process: a novel fabrication technique for large strain ionic polymer transducers

  • Barbar J. AkleEmail author
  • Matthew D. Bennett
  • Donald J. Leo
  • Kenton B. Wiles
  • James E. McGrath


Ionic polymer transducers (IPT) consist of an ion-exchange membrane plated with flexible conductive electrodes on their outer surface. Compared to other types of electromechanical transducers, ionomeric transducers have the advantage of high-strain output (>9%), low-voltage operation (<5 V), and high sensitivity in the charge-sensing mode. A novel fabrication technique for ionic polymer transducers named the Direct Assembly Process (DAP) was developed in this paper. The DAP allows the use of any type of ionomer, diluent, and conducting powder in the transducer, and permits the exploration of any novel ionomeric design. In this paper the effect of diluent content of the IPT, electrode thickness, and composition were optimized in term of maximum peak strain and strain rate generated by an IPT. Decreasing viscosity and increasing polarity and content of the diluent were demonstrated to increase the strain rate of an IPT. The thickness of the electrode was varied and correlated with the maximum strain generated due to a 2 V step input. This study also demonstrated that RuO2 composition has an optimal loading of 42 vol%, while SWNT electrodes have an optimal performance at around 30 vol%.


Ionic Liquid Electric Double Layer Percolation Threshold RuO2 LiBH4 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was partially supported by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and U.S. Army Research Office under Contract/Grant number DAAD19-02-1-0275 Macromolecular Architecture for Performance (MAP) MURI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbar J. Akle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew D. Bennett
    • 1
  • Donald J. Leo
    • 1
  • Kenton B. Wiles
    • 2
  • James E. McGrath
    • 2
  1. 1.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentCenter for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryMacromolecules and Interfaces Institute, Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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