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Ionic Electroactive Polymers Used in Bionic Robots: A Review

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Abstract

Ionic electroactive polymers (IEAPs) are a category of intelligent soft materials exhibiting large displacement under electric excitation, based on inner ion or solvent transport. Due to their unique advantages such as flexibility, low driving voltage, large bending displacement and aquatic-environment adaptability, IEAPs have been documented as very promising actuators for the applications in bionic robots. This review presents an analysis to the current research status of IEAPs exploited in bionic robots. According to the specific bionic parts, those robots are divided into four classes: imitation of fins, limbs, joints and trunks. Their dimension, weight, voltage amplitude, frequency and maximum speed were summarized to show the optimum design range. The results show that the approach velocity of the current robots were higher (> 35 mm·s-1) when the robot weighted 60 g–180 g and the body was 90 mm–130 mm long. For voltage from 1 V–3 V and frequencies from 0.7 Hz–1.2 Hz, the speed was relatively higher (> 35 mm·s-1). To some extent, the maximum speed decreases when the area of the IEAP material used in bionic robot increases. For underwater circumstances, IEAP materials are most suitable for designing bionic robots swimming with Body and/or Caudal Fin (BCF). This review provides important guidance for the design of IEAP bionic robots.

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Acknowledgment

The authors acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51605131), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11674354), Natural Science Foundation of Anhui Province, China (No. 1608085QE100), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. JZ2016HGTB0711).

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Chang, L., Liu, Y., Yang, Q. et al. Ionic Electroactive Polymers Used in Bionic Robots: A Review. J Bionic Eng 15, 765–782 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42235-018-0065-1

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