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Improvement of the CNT Actuator Reproducibility by Means of Process Simplification

Improvement of the carbon nanotube actuator reproducibility by means of processing simplification
: Kosidlo, Urszula; Addinall, Raphael; Tonner, Friedemann; Glanz, Carsten; Kolaric, Ivica; Bauernhansl, Thomas

International Union of Materials Research Societies -IUMRS-; Materials Research Society of Japan, Tokyo:
IUMRS-ICEM 2012 : Program and Abstracts of Plenary, Forums, Somiya Award and Special Lecture, September 23-28, 2012, Yokohama, Japan
Tokyo, 2012
44 Folien
International Conference on Electronic Materials (ICEM) <2012, Yokohama, Japan>
Fraunhofer IPA ()
Carbon Nanotube (CNT); Aktor; Aktuator; actuator; Fertigungsprozess

Actuators based on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have the potential to overcome drawbacks of currently used active materials. CNT actuators are lightweight, noiseless and require very low driving voltages for their operation what is seen as their major advantage and make CNT actuators especially attractive for medical technology applications. Actuator properties like displacement, measured to reach up to 5.8% relative displacement, force, with blocking force as high as 17N for a coin sized actuator, and reaction time, which can be adjusted between 1 and 7 µm/s have been already achieved at Fraunhofer IPA laboratories for three layer carbon nanotube actuators. It allowed moving further in the development of electrodes, stacks as well as attempts of system integration and function demonstration. However, when considering applicability of CNT actuators into products further properties have to be considered. In this sense the reliability investigations have been carried out to show that carbon nanotube actuators can be operated over long periods even under conditions, which theoretically are predicted as destructive. Furthermore, before integration of the actuators into products a major bottleneck, which is reproducibility, has to be overcome. For improvement of the performance reproducibility the work on the processing methodologies was undertaken in order to simplify the production method and to eliminate man-made errors. A new design of the actuator based on carbon nanotubes as an active material however offered in a form of gel encapsulated in a mould allowed for the significant simplification of the production process. Several time-consuming steps have been eliminated in the same way leading to the decrease of the possibility of occurrence of man-made errors. Even though the overall displacement of the actuator was decreased the improvement in the performance reproducibility has been obvious. The continuous work and modifications of the actuator setup are resulting in the continuous improvements in the performance characteristic. This talk will give an insight into the changes, which were introduced in the processing of carbon nanotube actuators and the continuous efforts on the way towards the improved performance of those actuators.