High‐Performance Ionic‐Polymer–Metal Composite: Toward Large‐Deformation Fast‐Response Artificial Muscles

Suqian Ma, Yunpeng Zhang, Yunhong Liang, Lei Ren, Wenjing Tian, Luquan Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As promising candidates in the field of artificial muscles, ionic‐polymer–metal composites (IPMCs) still cannot simultaneously provide large deformations and fast responses, which has limited their practical applications. In this study, to overcome this issue, a Nafion‐based IPMC with high‐quality metal electrodes is fabricated via novel isopropanol‐assisted electroless plating. The IPMC exhibits a large tip displacement (35.3 mm, 102.3°) under a low direct‐current driving voltage and ultrafast response (>10 Hz) under an alternating‐current (AC) voltage. Furthermore, the simultaneous integration of a large deformation and fast response can be achieved by the IPMC under a high‐frequency (19 Hz) AC voltage, where the largest bending amplitude is 5.9 mm and the highest bending speed reaches 224.2 mm s−1 (596.2° s−1). Additionally, the lightweight IPMC exhibits a decent load capacity and can lift objects 20 times heavier. The outstanding performances of the Nafion IPMC are demonstrated by mimicking biological motions such as petal opening/closing, tendril coiling/uncoiling, and high‐frequency wing flapping. This study paves the way for the fabrication of lightweight actuators with simultaneous large displacements and fast responses for promising applications in biomedical devices and bioinspired robotics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1908508
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Early online date15 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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