2004 EAPAD Conference, San Diego, California, USA

EAP-in-Action Session

March 15, 2004, 5:00 to 6:00 PM



MODERATOR: Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Chair, EAPAD Conference


This Session that is held annually as part of the SPIE’s EAPAD conference is intended to turn the spotlight on Electroactive Polymers (EAP) materials and their applications as well as increase the recognition of their potential.   New materials and applications are continuing to emerge and this session provides the attendees an opportunity to see a demonstration of the latest EAP materials in action.  This Session offers a forum of interaction between the technology developers and potential users as well as a "hands-on" experience with this emerging technology.  It is a great opportunity to see the capability of the state-of-the-art of EAP as potential actuators-of-choice.  It is anticipated that the first Human/EAP-Robot Armwrestling Competition will be held is a future forum of this session where this year for the first time we will have a presentation of an arm that can perform a wrestling motion.

Title and details


A wrestling robotic arm driven by EAP (ionic polymeric contractile PAN) - This wrestling arm will have the size and the configuration of an average human arm.  It is equipped with artificial muscles made of conductive polyacrylonitrile (PAN-C) that produce close to 200% linear strain and have pulling strength better than human muscles.  ERI will demonstrate the wrestling robotic arm and also show an array of their EAP products in live action.

Mohsen Shahinpoor shah@environmental-robots.com   and  Massoud Ahghar mahghar@environmental-robots.com -

Environmental Robots Incorporated (ERI), 909 Virginia, NE., Suite 205, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, USA

Polypyrrole-Based Finger Actuators in Air

Patrick Anquetil, Nate Vandesteeg, and Rachel Zimet  -   Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 3-147, Cambridge, MA 02139

Self-assembled membrane materials and their use as electrodes on EAP actuators

Rick Claus and Sherri Box, NanoSonic, Inc., 1485 S. Main Street, Blacksburg, VA  24060, phone:  540-953-1785 Fax:  540-953-5022, sherrib@nanosonic.com      http://www.nanosonic.com

Liquid Crystalline Elastomers as Artificial Muscles (Video and samples) - Action and extension of LC fiber mounted inside a heating coil will be shown. The upper end of the fiber is fixed and a specific load is attached to the lower end. The fiber is heated by passing current through a Nichrome coil.  When the temperature is increased above the nematic-isotropic transition temperature, the fiber contracts and is able to lift the weight. The induced strain is 40% of the original length.             

Jawad Naciri,  Amritha Srinivasan*, and Banahalli R Ratna

Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering, Naval Research Laboratory,  4555 Overlook Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20375

*Geo-Centers, Inc. 4640 Forbes Blvd., Street 120, Lanham, MD 20706

Artificial Muscles: From Creatures to Products

SRI and AMI will demonstrate a variety of actuators and enabled devices based on its electroelastomers (a.k.a. dielectric elastomer artificial muscles). These electroactive polymers exhibit electrically-driven strains up to 380%. The displays will include a walking robot and swimming fish that use the unique multi-degree-of-freedom bending roll actuators for propulsion, a quiet yet powerful rotary motor, a thickness-mode actuator for control of surface texture.

Qibing Pei, Scott Stanford, Marcus Rosenthal, Jon Heim, Roy Kornbluh, Ron Pelrine, Harsha Prahlad, and Neville Bonwit, Philip von Guggenberg  - SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Alex Beavers, CEO - Artificial Muscle Inc (AMI), 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Terpolymers and a micro-pump -video and sample

Qiming Zhang, Penn State University, 167 Materials Research Lab, Materials Research Lab, 16802, College Station, PA  16802-4801 (814) 863-8994, fax  (814) 863-7846, qxz1@psu.edu

Carbon Nanotube EAP actuators – samples and video

Liming Dai, University of Akron, and prabhu Soundarrajan, Applied Nanotechnology, Texas.

EAP Testbench Android - An expressive humanoid robot face with a porous poly(urethane-urea) elastomer skin that requires decreased force to actuate into expressive deformations, relative to solid elastomers, will be presented.  This approach lowers the bar of entry for EAP actuators into facial expression robotics. Also, samples of engineered pore-geometry elastomer materials (EPGEMs) will demonstrate that the benefits of such materials may be extended into other classes of polymers, including silicones and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).

David Hanson, University Texas of Dallas 2601 North Floyd Road, Richardson, Texas 75080, and Human Emulation Robotics, LLC. 323-208-2788

Victor White, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/CalTech, 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, California 91109



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