Polypyrrole Actuators for Tremor Suppression

Steen Skaarup, Naja Mogensen, Lasse Bay, Keld West

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Neurological tremor affecting limbs can be divided into at least 6 different types with frequencies ranging from 2 to about 20 Hz. In order to alleviate the symptoms by suppressing the tremor, sensing and actuation systems able to perform at these frequencies are needed. Electroactive polymers exemplify 'soft actuator' technology that may be especially suitable for use in conjunction with human limbs. The electrochemical and mechanical properties of polypyrrole dodecyl benzene sulphonate actuator films have been studied with this application in mind. The results show that the time constants for the change of length and for the stiffness change are significantly different - the stiffness change being about 10 times faster. Both force measurements and Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance measurements indicate that the actuation process is complex and involves at least two different processes. The EQCM results make it possible to formulate a hypothesis for the two different time constants: Sodium ions enter the polymer correlated with a fast mass change that probably involves a few (similar to4) strongly bound water molecules as well. On further reduction, about 10 additional water molecules enter the polymer in a slower process driven by osmotic pressure. Earlier work has tended to focus on achieving the maximum length change, therefore taking the time needed to include all processes. However, since the slower process described above is associated with the lowest strength of the actuator. concentrating on the faster stiffness change results in only a small reduction in the work done by the actuator. This may make actuation at higher frequencies feasible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Structures and Materials 2003 : Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
EditorsY. Bar-Cohen
Place of PublicationBellingham, WA
PublisherThe International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2003
ISBN (Print)0-8194-4856-7
Publication statusPublished - 2003
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2003 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 2 Mar 20036 Mar 2003


ConferenceSmart Structures and Materials 2003
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
SeriesProceedings of S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering


  • Actuator
  • Artificial muscles
  • Conducting polymer
  • Polypyrrole
  • Tremor suppression

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