Biomedical Applications of Electroactive Polymer Actuators by Federico Carpi, Elisabeth Smela

By Federico Carpi, Elisabeth Smela

Giving basic info on the most promising households of shrewdpermanent fabrics, electroactive polymers (EAP) this interesting new titles makes a speciality of the various biomedical purposes made attainable by way of some of these fabrics and their comparable actuation applied sciences. each one bankruptcy offers an outline of the explicit EAP fabric and equipment configuration used, fabric processing, machine assembling and checking out, in addition to an outline of the biomedical software.

Edited via well-respected teachers within the box of electroactive polymers with contributions from well known overseas specialists, this can be an outstanding source for business and educational examine scientists, engineers, technicians and graduate scholars operating with polymer actuators or within the fields of polymer science.


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A copper cross-linked polyacrylic acid gel, containing titanium dioxide particles, has been shown to swell under UV light and contract again in the dark [132]. A similar system with silver-coated titanium dioxide has also been described [133]. The volume change is large but the response time is hundreds of minutes. 5 Electrically Driven Gel Actuators A recent review [134] of electroactive gels focused particularly on polyelectrolyte gels based on cross-linked polymers of acrylic acid. Such acidic hydrogels can show a large volume change in water as the pH changes from acidic to basic and the gel becomes ionized.

The cross-linked structure prevents large-scale separation, so unambiguous evidence for two phases is hard to obtain. Crystallizable synthetic polymers form solvent-containing gels, which apparently contain crystallites connected by segments of solubilized polymer chain. Similar combinations of regions of nanoscale order linked by disordered solution probably characterize many biological gels, such as gelatin, agarose and calcium alginate. In principle the phase behavior of a lightly cross-linked gel would be expected to be the same as that for a high molecular weight sample of the same polymer in the same solvent.

The kinetics of gel swelling can be treated as a two-step process. Solvent diffuses into the gel causing some regions to swell and then there is an instantaneous shape change to minimize the elastic energy between the swollen and unswollen regions. For swelling involving small changes in volume in the continuous region of the phase diagram, the kinetics and dependence on the gel shape correspond to those expected for diffusion of solvent. 3 mm in diameter was about one hour, in agreement with a theory based on the coupling of the diffusion coefficient of water in the gel and the shear modulus of the gel [92].

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