An investigation of a thermally steerable electroactive polymer/shape memory polymer hybrid actuator

Kailiang Ren, Robert S. Bortolin, Qiming Zhang

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    This paper investigates the thermal response of a hybrid actuator composed of an electroactive polymer (EAP) and a shape memory polymer (SMP). This study introduces the concept of using the large strain from a phase transition (ferroelectric to paraelectric phase) induced by temperature change in a poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) film to tune the shape of an SMP film above its glass transition temperature (Tg). Based on the material characterization data, it is revealed that the thickness ratio of the EAP/SMP films plays a critical role in the displacement of the actuator. Further, it is also demonstrated that the displacement of the hybrid actuator can be tailored by varying the temperature, and finite element method simulation results fit well with the measurement data. This specially designed hybrid actuator shows great promise for future morphing aircraft applications.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number062901
    JournalApplied Physics Letters
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Feb 8 2016


    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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