Compatibilization of porphyrins for use as high permittivity fillers in low voltage actuating silicone dielectric elastomers

Cody B. Gale, Michael A. Brook*, Anne Ladegaard Skov*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Polysiloxanes represent, because of their unusual properties, a material with great potential for use in dielectric elastomers (DEs), a promising class of electroactive polymers. Currently, their application as actuators is limited by the need for high driving voltages, as a result of the low relative permittivity possessed by polysiloxanes (∼2-3). Reducing these voltages can be achieved to some degree by using high permittivity additives to improve the permittivity of the polysiloxane. However, modifying such additives so that they are compatible with, and can be dispersed within, polysiloxane elastomers remains challenging. For reliable actuation, full miscibility is key. In this work the porphyrin 5,10,15,20-(tetra-3-methoxyphenyl)porphyrin (TPMP) was investigated as a high permittivity additive. Its behaviour was compared to the analogue that was derivatized with bis(trimethylsiloxy)methylsilane groups using the Piers-Rubinsztajn reaction to improve compatability with silicone formulations. The derivatized porphyrin was dispersed in elastomers and their dielectric and mechanical properties were evaluated. It was discovered that only low levels of incorporation (1-10%) of the siliconized TPMP - much lower than the parent TPMP - were needed to elicit improvements in the permittivity and electromechanical actuation of the elastomers; actuation strains of up to 43% could be achieved using this method.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number31
Pages (from-to)18477-18486
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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