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Non-continuously Responding Polymeric Actuators

Non-continuously Responding Polymeric Actuators

Current polymeric actuators move because of their continuous response to the input signals of the controlling unit and cannot be interrupted without stopping or eliminating the input trigger. The new type of non-continuously responding actuator materials are capable of pausing their movements in a defined manner upon continuous cyclic heating and cooling.

These soft actuators are based on cross-linked blends of two crystallizable commodity polymers. The non-continuous movements can be adjusted by varying the applied heating and cooling rates. The new actuators can be (re)programmed to perform any desired type of motion. The feasibility of the soft actuators was demonstrated in a 140 cycle actuation experiment without any performance loss. The video below shows an interrupted reversible rotation of a traffic sign driven by a twisted non-continuous actuator arm upon continuous cyclic heating and cooling from 25 °C to 85 °C.

The results were just published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. see publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Video of interrupted reversible rotation of a traffic sign driven by a twisted non-continuous actuator arm