Researchers recently developed a stretchable and crumpling polymer ionic conductor to realize a thermal sensor that could measure body temperature by simple contacts such as wearing clothes or shaking hands and an actuator that could control movements of artificial muscle.

The team designed P (SPMA-r-MMA) polymers with different ratios of ionic side chain and chemically linked ionic materials with polymer chains. When making an ionic conductor, it is critical to have a solution process at room temperature. So, the newly developed polymer ionic conductor was processed with water as a solvent and covered with thin film. The process was much simpler than the conventional ones and it did not use toxic solvent and could be mass produced.

The chemically linked ionic conductor was thermally stable and stretchable. Also, it was self-healable that could recover its structures when it was ripped or broken. The research team used this ionic conductor to realize an actuator thermally stable up to 100 °C and a flexible thermal sensor applicable to a body for the first time.

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2020 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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