Electrostrictive polymer composite for energy harvesters and actuators

Abstract : Polymers have attractive properties when compared with inorganic materials: they are lightweight, inexpensive, pliable, and easily processed and manufactured. They can be configured into complex shapes and their properties can be tailored according to demand. With the rapid advances in materials used in science and technology, various substances embedded with intelligence at the molecular level are being developed. A type of electroactive polymer known as electrostrictive has shown considerable promise for a variety of applications, such as actuation with a strain thickness of 15% for an electric field of 10 V/μm. Polyurethane-based nanocomposite films were prepared by incorporating a carbon black nanopowder (C) into the polymer matrix. Electric field-induced strain measurements revealed that a loading of 1 vt% C (volume percentage of carbon black nanopowder) increased the strain level by a factor of 2.5 at a moderate field strength (10 V/μm). Moreover, another application for this material concerned the harvesting of mechanical energy, which constitutes an attractive alternative to the strict reliance on traditional batteries with limited lifetimes. For instance, an effective conversion from the mechanical-to-electric domains of 2.3 μW/cm3, under a transverse vibration level of 0.25% at 100 Hz, has been demonstrated for nylon. The final results indicated that the dielectric constant was a crucial parameter for energy harvesting.
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Pierre-Jean Cottinet, Daniel Guyomar, Benoit Guiffard, Laurent Lebrun, Chatchai Putson. Electrostrictive polymer composite for energy harvesters and actuators. Journal of Polymer Engineering, De Gruyter, 2011, 31 (2-3), pp.133-140. ⟨10.1515/polyeng.2011.030⟩. ⟨hal-00804138⟩



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