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A transparent and electroactive plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gel was investigated to use as a soft actuator for artificial muscle applications. PVC gels were prepared with varying plasticizer (dibutyl adipate, DBA) content. The prepared PVC gels were characterized using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and dynamic mechanical analysis. The DBA content in the PVC gel was shown to have an inverse relationship with both the storage and loss modulus. The electromechanical performance of PVC gels was demonstrated for both single-layer and stacked multi-layer actuators. When voltage was applied to a single-layer actuator and then increased, the maximum displacement of PVC gels (for PVC/DBA ratios of 1:4, 1:6, and 1:8) was increased from 105.19, 123.67, and 135.55 µm (at 0.5 kV) to 140.93, 157.13, and 172.94 µm (at 1.0 kV) to 145.03, 191.34, and 212.84 µm (at 1.5 kV), respectively. The effects of graphene oxide (GO) addition in the PVC gel were also investigated. The inclusion of GO (0.1 wt.%) provided an approximate 20% enhancement of displacement and 41% increase in force production, and a 36% increase in power output for the PVC/GO gel over traditional plasticizer only PVC gel. The proposed PVC/GO gel actuator may have promising applications in artificial muscle, small mechanical devices, optics, and various opto-electro-mechanical devices due to its low-profile, transparency, and electrical response characteristics.
Engineering Science and Materials
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Kim, K. J.
High-Performance Polyvinyl Chloride Gel Artificial Muscle Actuator with Graphene Oxide and Plasticizer.
Scientific Reports, 9