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Study on the preparation and properties of a new soft actuator

CHEN Qi,XIONG Ke,BIAN Kan,JIN Ning,WANG Bangfeng (Aeronautical Science Key Laboratory of Smart Materials & Structures,Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016,China)  
Ionic Polymer Metal Composites (IPMC) is a new kind of soft actuator. The traditional IPMCs’surface electrodes were made of platinum. The particles stay in a dense form that appears to introduce a significant level of surface-electrode resistance. To reduce the resistance, a new approach of electroless silver plating based on penetration reduction was adopted. Through the microscopic analysis, driving abilities tests and surface-electrode resistance analysis of the IPMC, it is found that Ag particles penetrate inside Nafion 117 membrane with gradient distribution throughout the membrane. The maximum electro-active bending deformation angle of the specimens is 90° for the Ag-Ag IPMC under the driving voltage of 1.5 V. The surface-electrode resistance of the Ag-Ag IPMC is low and stable.
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