Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New class of composite organic material could put the muscle in artificial body parts

19.09.2002


A new class of all organic composites that change shape under an electric voltage may open the door for the manufacture of artificial muscles, smart skins, capacitors, and tiny drug pumps, according to Penn State researchers.



"Electroactive polymers have been around for a long time, but the energy input required for them to do enough work to be of value was very high," says Dr. Qiming Zhang, professor of electrical engineering. "With this new composite we have reduced the voltage to one tenth that previously needed."

The researchers report in today’s ( Sept. 19 ) issue of the journal, Nature that a new class of composites, fabricated from an organic filler possessing very high dielectric constant dispersed in an electrostrictive polymer matrix, has much improved properties for the manufacture of actuators.


"These all-organic actuators could find applications as artificial muscles, smart skins for drag reduction, toys and in microfluidic systems for drug delivery," says Zhang. "In addition, the high dielectric constant makes this material attractive for high performance capacitors."

The dielectric constant is a relative measure of a materials ability to store electric charge. The dielectric constant is related to the chemical structure of the material and the higher the dielectric constant, the better the material will store an electric charge. Unlike traditional piezoelectric materials, which have a one-to-one relationship between voltage and movement, most electroactive polymers which are capable of creating large shape changes under electric fields have a square relationship between voltage and movement. In some cases, a 10 percent range of movement is attainable.

The researchers looked at the electrostrictive poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene), a known electroactive copolymer which was developed recently at Zhang’s Penn State laboratory, for the matrix in the composite. For filler, they used an organic semiconductor, copper-phthalocyanine, because it has a high dielectric constant.

"The copper-phthalocyanine disperses in the polymer matrix," says Zhang. "The dispersion is one aspect that we need to work on more and we are looking at a variety of approaches including creating nanocomposites."

The composite has electrical properties more suitable to low voltage operation. The composites are also nearly as flexible as the copolymer alone which has the appearance of a slightly more rigid plastic bag.

"Potential applications for this material include a variety of tiny pumps because the material can me made to pump periodically or in a wave fashion," says Feng Xia, graduate student in electrical engineering and part of the team working on a variety of approaches to electrostrictive materials in Penn State’s Materials Research Institute. "Small insulin or other pharmaceutical pumps could be powered by a low voltage battery and an electroactive composite. Other applications include pumping fluids through the channels in a diagnostic chip array or as smart skins that would reduce drag."

For artificial muscles and tendons, the flexible, elastic nature of the material may provide a more natural motion for mechanical musculature. Multiple, very thin layers stacked and then rolled and flattened could simulate muscles.

Andrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Observing the cell's protein factories during self-assembly
15.06.2018 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht Scientists unravel molecular mechanisms of Parkinson's disease
13.06.2018 | The Francis Crick Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks

18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Diamond watch components

18.06.2018 | Process Engineering

New type of photosynthesis discovered

18.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>