Design optimization of rod shaped IPMC actuator

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of SPIE - Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)






Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) are some of the most well-known electro-active polymers. This is due to their large deformation provided a relatively low voltage source. IPMCs have been acknowledged as a potential candidate for biomedical applications such as cardiac catheters and surgical probes; however, there is still no existing mass manufacturing of IPMCs. This study intends to provide a theoretical framework which could be used to design practical purpose IPMCs depending on the end users interest. By explicitly coupling electrostatics, transport phenomenon, and solid mechanics, design optimization is conducted on a simulation in order to provide conceptual motivation for future designs. Utilizing a multi-physics analysis approach on a three dimensional cylinder and tube type IPMC provides physically accurate results for time dependent end effector displacement given a voltage source. Simulations are conducted with the finite element method and are also validated with empirical evidences. Having an in-depth understanding of the physical coupling provides optimal design parameters that cannot be altered from a standard electro-mechanical coupling. These parameters are altered in order to determine optimal designs for end-effector displacement, maximum force, and improved mobility with limited voltage magnitude. Design alterations are conducted on the electrode patterns in order to provide greater mobility, electrode size for efficient bending, and Nafion diameter for improved force. The results of this study will provide optimal design parameters of the IPMC for different applications. © (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


Biomedical materials; Conducting polymers; Metal-filled plastics


Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation | Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Materials Science and Engineering | Mechanical Engineering




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