Low-Voltage-Driven Soft Actuators based on Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Artificial Muscles
摘要：Artificial muscle is a class of materials which are represented by bionic smart materials. Devices based on artificial muscles can reversibly expand, bend, or rotate under an external stimulus such as voltage, light, temperature, humidity, etc. Voltage-driven artificial muscles are the most promising materials in the field of soft robotics since that the voltage can be precisely controlled in a wide expanded range, and the driving part can be as small as a dry cell. The steps of developing voltage-driven artificial muscles can never stop, including the insights into the bionic modeling, working mechanism, fabricating processes, and so on. Here, inspired by the actuati mechanism of mimosa, we designed a three-layer bionic actuation model based on Nafion ionic polymer-metal composite（IPMC） artificial muscle. Followed by optimizing the bionic structure, material component, and manufacturing process, soft actuators based on IPMC artificial muscle can be achieved with high material strength and good actuation performance. The soft actuator can bend its tip to the anode side under a low voltage of 2 V since the water content in the soft actuator between anode and cathode is greatly unbalanced after ion/water migration under the stimulus of voltage. Additionally, the large actuation force generated by the soft IPMC actuator can make it possible to lift an object with a weight of 2 g, which is 20 times of the actuator‘s self-weight.