Vol.9 No.3 2017

Research paper−117−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.9 No.3 pp.117 –123 (Feb. 2017) using various electroactive polymers is nearing practical use, and there are high expectations. At AIST, since the time of the Government Industrial Research Institute, Osaka, the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, we have engaged in the research of low-voltage-driven soft actuators with ion conductive polymers. Such a polymeric actuator is light weight, excellent in exibility, and workability, and major deformation can be obtained at low voltage of 1 V order. Therefore, it is an essential device in advancing the technical development of the aforementioned human-friendly devices.In this paper, we describe the scenario, the current status, and the future prospect for conducting the development of electrically driven polymeric actuators using nanocarbon electrodes, as the soft actuator technology essential for developing human-friendly devices. 2 Basic soft actuator technology and the guideline for materials of new soft actuator developmentAt AIST Kansai, the development of ion conductive polymeric actuators was started when the organization was called the Government Industrial Research Institute, Osaka, the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology. This involved a conjugate of uorine ion exchange resin used in polymer electrolyte fuel cells treated by electroless deposition of precious metals such as platinum and gold. When low voltage of about 1 V is applied between the electrodes, deformation occurs as the counter ions or cations move to the negative electrode (Fig. 1).[2] This technology was developed for the rst time in the world for polymeric actuators in 1991, and various application research was conducted based on 1 Background—Research of muscles and soft actuatorsJapan has become an unprecedented aging society where 22.5 % of the population are 65 years old or older. The use of welfare devices and services that enhance the quality of life (QOL) of the disabled and the elderly and support their social participation are expected to increase. Requirements for such devices are safety, increased operability, downsizing, weight reduction, cost reduction, and others to enable adaptation to unfamiliar environments. The development of soft actuators has been conducted worldwide as a key technology for such devices. The development is being done for various human-friendly medical devices that can be directly worn by people for the purpose of home rehabilitation or care, as well as for communication devices for physically challenged people that allows the transfer of information by tactile or auditory senses while worn on the body.The goal of soft actuator development is to create an actuator that functions like muscles of organisms, and this is the aim of the researchers around the world. The motive power of movement of living organisms is the muscle, and it is well known that muscles have excellent characteristics as actuators. While excellent actuators with excellent individual specs have been developed, an actuator that is light, soft, and powerful and is capable of working in groups like muscles has not been developed.Setting the simulation of muscles as a guideline, the research of soft actuators using polymers as basic materials are being conducted around the world.[1] Particularly, the development of an electric-power-driven expanding/contracting actuator - Toward the practical realization of articial muscles-Human-friendly machines are expected to increase in demand. To meet this demand, we have developed electrically driven soft actuators based on ionic polymers. This paper describes the development process, design guidelines, current state of R&D, and future prospects for low-voltage, polymeric actuators based on nano-carbon electrodes.Development of human-friendly polymeric actuators based on nano-carbon electrodesKeywords : Polymeric actuator, soft actuator, nano-carbon, ionic liquid, gel[Translation from Synthesiology, Vol.9, No.3, p.117–123 (2016)]Kinji AsakaInorganic Functional Material Research Institute, AIST 1-8-31 Midorigaoka, Ikeda 563-8577, JapanE-mail: Original manuscript received June 6, 2015, Revisions received July 19, 2015, Accepted July 21, 2015

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