Ion Conducting Polyelectrolytes in Conductive Network Composites and Humidity Sensing Applications for Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuators
Skinner, Anna Penn
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Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) are widely studied for their potential as electromechanical sensors and actuators. Bending of the IMPC depends on internal ion motion under an electric potential, and the addition of an ionic liquid and ionic self-assembled multilayer (ISAM) conductive network composite (CNC) strongly enhances bending and improves lifetime. Ion conducting polyelectrolytes poly(2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid) (PAMPS) and Nafion® were incorporated into an ISAM CNC film with poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) and anionic gold nanoparticles actuators to further improve bending. CNC films were optimized for bending through pH adjustments in PAH and adding NaCl to the PAMPS and Nafion® solutions. PAMPS-containing actuators showed larger and faster bending than those containing Nafion® in the CNC. The IPMC actuator was also evaluated for its potential as a humidity sensor based on its relative humidity (RH) dependent steady-state current. The detection range is at least 10-80%RH, with 5%RH increment differentiation and likely better resolution. Effects of CNC presence and thickness were studied, in conjunction with ionic liquid at a range of RH values. A thin CNC (pH 4 PAH) produced the greatest current differentiation between RH values. The current's response speed to a large RH decrease was approximately 4 times faster than that of a fast commercial digital hygrometer. Additionally, the presence of a CNC and ionic liquid improved the current response time. These results indicate that an IPMC based humidity sensor using a CNC and ionic liquid is very promising and merits further study.
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