Fast, light-responsive, metal-like polymer actuators generating high stresses at low strain

Rob C.P. Verpaalen, S. Varghese, Arne Froyen, Marina Pilz Da Cunha, Maarten Pouderoijen, J.R. Severn, Muhammad Bhatti, A.A.J.M. Peijs, Cees W.M. Bastiaansen, Michael G. Debije, Tom A.P. Engels, Albert P.H.J. Schenning (Corresponding author)

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)


Producing lightweight polymeric actuators able to generate high stresses typical of hard metals and/or ceramics remains challenging. The photo-mechanical responses of ultra-drawn ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) actuators containing azobenzene photo-switches with symmetrically attached polyethylene (PE) side chains are reported. Long PE side chains promote dispersion within the apolar UHMWPE matrix, and the ultra-drawn films are highly aligned. The ultra-drawn azobenzene-doped UHMWPE films have high Young's moduli (∼100 GPa) and are viscoelastic at room temperature at strains below 1%. The photo-mechanical response of the films is fast (<1 s), showing a high specific actuation stress response (>6 × 104 Pa (kg m−3)−1) to UV or visible light at a low strain (∼0.06%). The actuator responds to rotating linearly polarized light, causing a photo-induced stress wave response. Such rapid, high-stress, low-strain, photo-mechanical responses are unique in soft polymer systems with physical values approaching hard metals/ceramics.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1522-1534
Aantal pagina's13
Nummer van het tijdschrift6
StatusGepubliceerd - 3 jun 2020

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