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High-Performance One-Body Electrochemical Torsional Artificial Muscles Built Using Carbon Nanotubes and Ion-Exchange Polymers

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posted on 2023-12-13, 04:44 authored by Jae Sang Hyeon, Seongjun Kim, Gyu Hyeon Song, Ji Hwan Moon, Jong Woo Park, Ray H. Baughman, Seon Jeong Kim
Electrochemical torsional artificial muscles have the potential to replace electric motors in the field of miniaturization. In particular, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are some of the best materials for electrochemical torsional artificial muscles due to their remarkable mechanical strength and high electrical conductivity. However, previous studies on CNT torsional muscle utilize only half of the whole potential range for torsional actuation because the actuations in the positive and negative voltage ranges offset each other. Here, we used an ion-exchange polymer, poly­(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate) (PSS), which leads to the participation of only positive ions in the actuation of CNT muscles so that the whole potential range can be used for torsional actuation. As a result, PSS-coated CNT muscle can provide 1.9 times higher torsional actuation compared to neat CNT torsional muscle. This PSS-coated CNT muscle not only provides high performance but also facilitates a one-body system for electrochemical torsional actuation. From these advantages, we implement a one-body torsional muscle for the realization of the forward motion of a model boat. This high performance and one-body structure for electrochemical torsional muscles can be used for further applications, such as soft robotics and implantable devices.

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