A fabrication method of unique Nafion® shapes by painting for ionic polymer-metal composites

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Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMC) are useful actuators because of their ability to be fabricated in different shapes and move in various ways. However, producing unique or intricate shapes can be difficult based upon the current fabrication techniques. Presented here is a fabrication method of producing the Nafion® membrane or thin film through a painting method. Using an airbrush, a Nafion water dispersion is sprayed onto an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene surface with a stencil of the desired shape. To verify that this method of fabrication produces a Nafion membrane similar to that which is commercially available, a sample that was made using the painting method and Nafion 117 purchased from DuPont™ were tested for various characteristics and compared. The results show promising similarities. The painted Nafion sample was chemically plated with platinum and compared with a traditional IPMC for its displacement and blocking force capabilities. The painted IPMC sample showed comparable results. © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.