Synthesizing A Phase Changing Bistable Electroactive Polymer And Silver Nanoparticles Coated Fabric As A Resistive Heating Element

by Zhi Ren

Institution: UCLA
Year: 2016
Keywords: Materials Science; Polymer chemistry; Bistable Electroactive polymer; electromechanical actuation; eletroless deposition; shape memory; silver nanoparticles; wearable heater
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2072776
Full text PDF: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5914v9pf


Transducer technologies that convert energy from one form to another (e.g. electrical energy to mechanical energy or thermal energy and vise versa) are considered as the basic building blocks of robots and wearable electronics, two of the rapidly emerging technologies that impact our daily life. With an emphasis on developing the essential smart materials, this dissertation focuses on two specific transducer technologies, bistable large-strain electro-mechanical actuation and resistive Joule heating, in pursuit of refreshable Braille electronic displays and wearable thermal management element, respectively. Dielectric elastomers (DEs) have been intensively studied for their promising ability to mimic human muscles in providing efficient electro-mechanical actuation. They exhibit a unique combination of properties, including large strain, fast response, high energy density, mechanical compliancy, lightweight, and low cost. However, the softness of the DE materials, which is a prerequisite for electrically induced large actuation strain, has been hindering their application in adaptive structures. In these applications such as braille displays, a certain amount of mechanical support is necessary in addition to large strains for the device or system to function. Bistable electroactive polymers (BSEP) that leverage the electrically induced large-strain actuation of DE actuators and the bi-stable rigid-to-rigid deformation of shape memory polymers are innovated to provide large electrical actuation strain in their rubbery state and fix the deformation by cooling down to room temperature to incorporate mechanical rigidity. BSEP materials that can suppress electromechanical instability and exhibit stable mechanical properties in the rubbery state are desired. A bimodal BSEP material with a glass transition temperature right above room temperature has been synthesized employing simple UV curing process. The BSEP has a large storage modulus over 1GPa at room temperature that decreases to several MPa at above 70˚C after a rigid-to-rubbery transition via glass transition. The rubbery BSEP possesses a stable storage modulus regardless of temperature fluctuations, which is beneficial to stable electrical actuation performances under an electric field. The bimodal structure creates a framework involving both long chain crosslinkers and small molecular crosslinkers. Due to the limited chain extensibility of this bimodal framework, the rubbery BSEP can self-stiffen at modest strains to suppress electromechanical instability, which is responsible for the premature electrical breakdown of the previous BSEP materials in their rubbery states. A BSEP actuator with a braille dot size exhibits steadily increased actuation height with increasing electric field at 70 ˚C. A stable actuation with a cycle lifetime of over 2000 cycles at a raised dot height of 0.4 mm was demonstrated. A fabrication process for a page-size braille paper using the BSEP has been developed. A selective heating strategy has been investigated based on a 2-cell device…