Electro and Light-Active Actuators Based on Reversible Shape-Memory Polymer Composites with Segregated Conductive Networks
mediaposted on 08.08.2019, 18:54 by Zhao Xu, Chao Ding, Dun-Wen Wei, Rui-Ying Bao, Kai Ke, Zhengying Liu, Ming-Bo Yang, Wei Yang
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Reversible shape-memory polymers (RSMPs) show great potential in actuating applications because of its repeatability among many other advantages. Indeed, in many cases, multiresponsive RSMPs are more expected, and the strategy to introduce functional fillers without deteriorating the reversible deformation performance is of great importance. Here, a facile strategy to balance the electro, photothermal performance, and molecular chain mobility is reported. Segregated conductive networks of carbon nanotubes (S-CNTs) are constructed in the poly(ethylene-co-octene) (POE) matrix at a relatively low filler loading, which renders the composite good electrical, photothermal, and actuating properties. A low percolation threshold of 0.25 vol % is achieved. The electrical conductivity is up to 0.046 S·cm–1 for the POE/S-CNT composites with 2 vol % CNT, and the absorption of light (760 nm) is above 90%. These characteristics guarantee that the actuator can be driven at low voltage (≤36 V) and suitable light intensity (250 mW·cm–2) with a good actuating performance. An electric gripper and a light-active crawling robot demonstrate the potential applications in multiresponsive robots. This work introduces a facile strategy to fabricate multiresponsive RSMPs by designing CNT network structures in polymer composites and holds great potential to enlarge the applications of RSMPs in many areas including artificial muscles and bionic robots.