Fluid flow sensing with ionic polymer-metal composites

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) actuators and sensors have been developed and modeled over the last two decades for use as soft-robotic deformable actuators and sensors. IPMC devices have been suggested for application as underwater actuators, energy harvesting devices, and medical devices such as in guided catheter insertion. Another interesting application of IPMCs in flow sensing is presented in this study. IPMC interaction with fluid flow is of interest to investigate the use of IPMC actuators as flow control devices and IPMC sensors as flow sensing devices. An organized array of IPMCs acting as interchanging sensors and actuators could potentially be designed for both flow measurement and control, providing an unparalleled tool in maritime operations. The underlying physics for this system include the IPMC ion transport and charge fundamental framework along with fluid dynamics to describe the flow around IPMCs. An experimental setup for an individual rectangular IPMC sensor with an externally controlled fluid flow has been developed to investigate this phenomenon and provide further insight into the design and application of this type of device. The results from this portion of the study include recommendations for IPMC device designs in flow control. © 2016 SPIE.


Biomimetic; Flow measurements; Ionic polymer-metal composite; IPMC; Sensors

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