Although the Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite (IPMC) actuators developed up to date are in the form of bending actuators, development of extensional actuators based on IMPC is highly desirable from practical applications and fundamental understanding points of view. This talk presents the design, fabrication and characterization of a recent work on an extensional Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite actuator. The extensional actuator consists of the Nafion ionomer as the matrix and the sub-micron size RuO2 particles as the conductive filler for the conductor/ionomr composites. In this investigation, several ionic liquids (IL) were investigated. For a Nafion/RuO2 composite with 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate (EMI-Tf) IL, it was found that as the ions are driven into the ionomer/RuO2 composite (the composite under negative voltage), an extensional strain of 0.9% was observed; while as the ions were expelled from the ionomer/RuO2 composite (under positive voltage), a contraction of-1.2% was observed. The results indicate that multiple ions are participating in charge transport and actuation process. In this paper, we also discuss several design considerations for future extensional actuators with fast response, much improved strain and stress level. Especially an actuator based on multilayer configuration can significantly increase the electric field level in the actuator and consequently significantly improve the actuator speed. The extensional actuator investigated here provides a unique platform to investigate various phenomena related to ion transport and their interaction with the ionomer/conductor matrix to realize high electromechanical performance.