Electromechanical actuation with controllable motion based on a single-walled carbon nanotube and natural biopolymer composite

Y. Hu, Wei Chen, L. Lu, J. Liu, C. Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports novel electromechanical behavior for a natural biopolymer film due to the incorporation of a conductive carbon nanotube network. Through simple solution blending and casting, high weight fraction single-walled carbon nanotube-chitosan composite films were fabricated and exhibited electromechanical actuation properties with motion controlled by low alternating voltage stimuli in atmospheric conditions. Of particular interest and importance is that the displacement output imitated perfectly the electrical input signal in terms of frequency (<10 Hz) and waveform. Operational reliability was confirmed by stable vibration testing in air for more than 3000 cycles. Proposed electrothermal mechanism considering the alternating current-induced periodic thermal expansion and contraction of the composite film was discussed. The unique actuation performance of the carbon nanotube-biopolymer composite, coupled with ease of fabrication, low driven voltage, tunable vibration, reliable operation, and good biocompatibility, shows great possibility for implementation of dry actuators in artificial muscle and microsystems for biomimetic applications. © 2010 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3498-3502
Number of pages5
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chitosan
  • Electromechanical actuation
  • Electrothermal
  • SWCNT dispersion
  • Tunable vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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