The unique capability of inducing large displacements - as high as two orders of magnitude greater than the rigid and fragile piezoelectric ceramics - coupled with other attractive properties such as more favourable spectral response, lower density and higher resilience compared to shape memory alloys, make electroactive polymers (EAPs) of interest for a range of niche applications that exploit their intrinsic properties not only as actuators targeted to augment and possibly replace biological muscles, but also in a number of different areas as sensors, displays, energy harvesters, and microelectronic, optical, bio-mimetic and MEMS devices. However, in spite of recent important progress, several challenges still must be addressed if EAPs is to be a successful and viable technology. A deeper theoretical and practical understanding on how these materials work, the ideation of new design approaches for efficient operation, and ensuring reliable and reproducible processing and characterisation methods for materials and devices as well as efficient electronics architecture and data processing are among the several issues to cope with.
This Symposium, which follows the one on the same topic held on the frames of CIMTEC 2008, is seeking to present and discuss current status of EAPs research, show ongoing case applications and give insight on future directions to further materialise the potential of EAPs technology.
Synthesis, processing, shaping, fabrication