Molecular machine: How ferroelectric polymers generate giant electroactuation

Tian Zhang, Biao Lu, Qing Xie, Q. M. Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Electroactive polymers (EAPs) are novel polymeric materials that generate large displacement or strain under electrical field. EAPs show many attractive features such as high electromechanical response, environmental tolerance, lightweight, flexibility, biocompatibility and long-Term durability. In 1998, we reported the discovery of a new class of EAP, e.g., high energy electron irradiated P(VDF-TrFE) (poly(vinylidenefluoride-Trifluoroethylene)) based electrostrictive polymers, showing large electrostrictive strain (-5%) and relaxor ferroelectric characteristic. Since then, the P(VDF-TrFE) based terpolymers were developed which eliminate the irradiation process. P(VDFTrFE-CFE) terpolymer exhibits very high electromechanical responses (elastic energy density ∼ 1.1 J/cm and electromechanical coupling factor ∼55%). Further, blends approach was studied to increase elastic modulus. Devices based on the high electrostrictive polymers have also been demonstrated, such as micro pump, braille displays, soft robot, et al. These results suggest that P(VDF-TrFE) based electrostrictive polymers are promising for many electromechanical device applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX
EditorsYoseph Bar-Cohen
ISBN (Electronic)9781510616844
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX 2018 - Denver, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2018Mar 8 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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