Experimental analysis of current and deformation of ion-exchange polymer metal composite actuators

E. T. Enikov, G. S. Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In this paper we describe the experimental analysis of a novel ion-exchange polymer metal composite (IPMC) actuator under large external voltage. The experimental analysis is supplemented with a coupled thermodynamic model, which includes mass transport across the thickness of the polymer actuator, chemical reactions at boundaries, and deformation as a function of the solvent (water) distribution. In this paper, the case of large electrode potentials (over 1.2 V) has been analyzed experimentally and theoretically. At these voltage levels, electrochemical reactions take place at both electrodes. These are used in the framework of overpotential theory to develop boundary conditions for the water transport in the bulk of polymer. The model is then simplified to a three-component system comprised of a fixed negatively charged polymeric matrix, protons, and free water molecules within the polymer matrix. Among these species, water molecules are considered to be the dominant species responsible for the deformation of the IPMC actuators. Experiments conducted at different initial water contents are described and discussed in the context of the proposed deformation mechanism. Comparison of numerical simulations with experimental data shows good agreemenent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-391
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Fuel cell
  • IPMC actuators
  • Overpotential theory
  • Swelling
  • Water transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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