Electroactive polymers (EAPs) can behave as actuators, changing their shape in response to electrical stimulation. EAPs that are controlled by external electric fields-referred to here as fieldtype EAPs-include ferroelectric polymers, electrostrictive polymers, dielectric elastomers and liquid crystal polymers. Fieldtype EAPs can exhibit fast response speeds, low hysteresis and strain levels far above those of traditional piezoelectric materials, with elastic energy densities even higher than those of piezoceramics. However, these polymers also require a high field (>70V μm-1) to generate such high elastic energy densities (>0.1 J cm-3; refs 4, 5, 9, 10). Here we report a new class of all-organic field-type EAP composites, which can exhibit high elastic energy densities induced by an electric field of only 13 V μm-1. The composites are fabricated from an organic filler material possessing very high dielectric constant dispersed in an electrostrictive polymer matrix. The composites can exhibit high net dielectric constants while retaining the flexibility of the matrix. These all-organic actuators could find applications as artificial muscles, 'smart skins' for drag reduction, and in microfluidic systems for drug delivery.
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