Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 50, Issue 8, pp 1157-1168

First online:

“Equivalent” Electromechanical Coefficient for IPMC Actuator Design Based on Equivalent Bimorph Beam Theory

  • H. D. ÇilingirAffiliated withSabancı University
  • , M. PapilaAffiliated withSabancı University Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This paper addresses an “equivalent” electromechanical coupling coefficient that may be used in designing Ionic Polymer Metal Composite (IPMC) actuators. The coefficient is not a material constant and derived from equivalent bimorph beam model. The collective effect of the membrane thickness and operating voltage on the coefficient is demonstrated by using a design of experiment (DOE) of three and five levels of the two factors, respectively. Experiments and linear finite element analyses with MD.NASTRAN at DOE points are performed. The tip displacement and the coupling coefficient are reported and their response surface (RS) approximations as function of the thickness and voltage are constructed. Experiments and RS predictions indicate that actuator thickness and applied voltage are two interacting major factors for maximum tip displacement. The equivalent coupling coefficient is primarily driven by the thickness of actuator moreover voltage appears to contribute as the thickness increases. The initial curvature of the strips before electrical excitation is also shown to be a factor for “equivalent” coupling coefficient, it is not, however sufficient to explain the variation in the experimental data. A correction factor approach is proposed and applied to the straight beam tip displacement RS that filters out experimental variation. A corrected RS enables including the pre-imposed initial curvature as design parameter along with the actuator thickness and the operating peak voltage when predicting the tip displacement and the equivalent coupling coefficient.


IPMC Equivalent electromechanical coefficient Curvature Response surface Frequency response