Research Article: Electroactive Artificial Muscles Based on Functionally Antagonistic Core–Shell Polymer Electrolyte Derived from PS‐b‐PSS Block Copolymer

Date Published: December 13, 2018

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Author(s): Van Hiep Nguyen, Jaehwan Kim, Rassoul Tabassian, Moumita Kotal, Kiwoo Jun, Jung‐Hwan Oh, Ji‐Myeong Son, Muhammad Taha Manzoor, Kwang Jin Kim, Il‐Kwon Oh.


Electroactive ionic soft actuators, a type of artificial muscles containing a polymer electrolyte membrane sandwiched between two electrodes, have been intensively investigated owing to their potential applications to bioinspired soft robotics, wearable electronics, and active biomedical devices. However, the design and synthesis of an efficient polymer electrolyte suitable for ion migration have been major challenges in developing high‐performance ionic soft actuators. Herein, a highly bendable ionic soft actuator based on an unprecedented block copolymer is reported, i.e., polystyrene‐b‐poly(1‐ethyl‐3‐methylimidazolium‐4‐styrenesulfonate) (PS‐b‐PSS‐EMIm), with a functionally antagonistic core–shell architecture that is specifically designed as an ionic exchangeable polymer electrolyte. The corresponding actuator shows exceptionally good actuation performance, with a high displacement of 8.22 mm at an ultralow voltage of 0.5 V, a fast rise time of 5 s, and excellent durability over 14 000 cycles. It is envisaged that the development of this high‐performance ionic soft actuator could contribute to the progress toward the realization of the aforementioned applications. Furthermore, the procedure described herein can also be applied for developing novel polymer electrolytes related to solid‐state lithium batteries and fuel cells.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.