Characterizing electroactive polymers for use in robotic surgical instruments

Alan J. Snyder, Adam L. Cohen, Zhong Yang Cheng, Qiming Zhang, James Runt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The popularity of minimally invasive surgical procedures over traditional open procedures motivates us to develop new instruments that address the limits of existing technology and enable more widespread use of minimally invasive approaches. Robotic surgical instruments have the potential to provide improved dexterity and range of motion within the confines of the human body when compared with manually actuated instruments. The high strain response and elastic energy density of electron-irradiated P(VDF-TrFE) make it a candidate actuator material for robotic instruments that provide electronic mediation and multiple degrees of freedom of tip movement. We are currently studying both active and passive properties of P(VDF-TrFE) with the goal of constructing a mathematical model of the material's behavior. Studies have been conducted on 15 micron thick film samples in rolled and rolled-flattened configurations. Passive properties can be represented by a 5 parameter viscoelastic model with two time constants on the order of ten and 200 seconds. Active responses were found to have strong dependence upon field and modest dependence upon load. We suggest means by which the active and passive responses can be combined in a model of steady-state response that would be of value in positioning tasks. The time course of the active response appears to contain components on two time scales, but further studies are required to characterized it in more detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-386
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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