This research focuses on building EAP devices as well as methods for their control. Particularly, we are focusing at the following research problems:
- Electromechanical modelling of IPMC materials
- Design of novel IPMC actuators.
- Development of position sensors for IPMC actuators.
- Development of control methods of IPMC actuators to achieve less energy consumption at large output force and torque.
- Development of feedback control methods for IPMC actuators.
- Design of autonomous IPMC actuators and devices.
Carbon-Polymer Composite Electroactive Materials
This research focuse on developing new materials based on carbide derived carbon, polymer matrix and ioni liquid composite materials. These materials are relatively strong and well controllable by open loop current control. It is possible to prepare either bending or expanding(linear) actuators. Particularly, we are focusing on:
- Design of material with specific electromechanical properties (speed, force)
- Atomistic and electromechanical modelling of the material
- Design of the actuators suitable for Lab-on-Chip applications
- Development of the fabrication technology suitable for LoC applications
- Design of prototypes for several applications
Electronically conducting polymers, polypyrrole (PPy) in particular, have been under heavy investigation during the last decades. Their useful optical, conductive, ion-exchange properties have already found use at the industrial level in various capacitors, displays, sensors, analyzers, etc. In addition to the practical use of these “classical” properties, several promising applications of the conducting polymers have been proposed in recent years, employing the bio-compatibility or electromechanical features of these polymers. Unfortunately, the lack of fundamental atomistic understanding of the development of the properties of the conducting polymers is hindering the wider use of the novel applications proposed. Our main focus has been the establishment of the relationships between the synthesis conditions, the structure and the properties of the polymers. Another field of interest is the stability (both chemical and physical) of these materials (especially if used in air, aqueous solutions or bio-liquids). Electrochemistry, spectroscopy, electron- and probe microscopy as well as theoretical modeling have been employed in order to gain a better understanding of these issues.
Solid electrolytes for the Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery can be produced by mixing a lithium salt, typically LiPF6 or LiBF4, into poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), -(CH2CH2O)n-. However, such electrolytes only exhibit adequate ionic conductivity (>10-4 S/cm) at temperatures above 70°C, where the polymer becomes amorphous. The conventional wisdom has been that the high degree of local order (“crystallinity”) is the reason for the poor ionic conductivity at ambient temperatures. Much attention has therefore been devoted to the task of increasing the amorphous content of the PEO electrolyte at ambient temperatures.
Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations give us a chance to have close insights into Nafion's dynamics and local structure on molecular level. We can study the details of proton-conductivity and find out the mechanisms what can possibly improve this process. We are interested in following research problems:
- design of the realistic and reliable Molecular Dynamics simulation model for Nafion as an electrolyte in the fuel cell,
- simulations of proton hopping mechanism between Nafion chain and surrounding water,
- the effects of Nafion side chains on the proton dynamics.