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Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 19, Number 5, May 2017, pages 553-565

Structural modeling of actuation of IPMC in dry environment: effect of water content and activity
J. Sakthi Swarrup, Ganguli Ranjan and Madras Giridhar

    Structural modeling of unencapsulated ionic polymer metal composite (u-IPMC) actuators that are used for flapping the insect scale-flapping wing of micro air vehicles (FMAV) in dry environmental conditions is carried out. Structural modeling for optimization of design parameters for retention of water, maximize actuation performance and to study the influence of water activity on the actuation characteristics of u-IPMC is explored for use in FMAV. The influence of equivalent weight of Nafion polymer, cations, concentration of cations, pre-treatment procedures on retention of water of u-IPMCs and on actuation parameters, flapping angle, flexural stiffness and actuation displacement are investigated. IPMC designed with Nafion having equivalent weight 900-1100, pre-heated at 300C and with sodium as the cations is promising for optimum retention of water and actuation performance. The actuation parameters while in operation in dry and humid environment with varying water activity can be tuned to desirable frequency, deflection, flap angle and flexural stiffness by changing the water activity and operational temperature of the environment.
Key Words
    ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) actuators; structural modeling; retention of water; water activity and actuation performance
J. Sakthi Swarrup and Ganguli Ranjan:Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560012, India
Madras Giridhar: Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560012, India

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