Inkjet printing P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) actuators for large bending strains

S.A. Sekar, A. Hunt*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Additive manufacturing of sensors and actuators together with structural materials and electronics will make it possible to fabricate innovative system designs that are overly laborious to realise with conventional methods. While printing of the structural materials and electronics are advancing fast, the additive manufacturing methods for actuators and sensors are in an earlier stage of development. This research will develop a manufacturing process for entirely inkjet printed electroactive polymer (EAP) actuators basing on the P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) relaxor ferroelectric polymer and Ag electrodes. The process consists of (1) printing an Ag layer on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate for the bottom electrode; (2) formulating, printing and annealing a P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) ink for the EAP layer; and (3) printing and sintering an Ag layer on the plasma-treated EAP surface to form the top electrode. Two actuator variations, addressed as DMC and KM512, are manufactured and characterised by their: (a) response to quasi-static excitation (1 Hz sine wave); (b) hysteresis behaviour; (c) actuation amplitude variation with the input voltage; and (d) frequency response. The 18 mm long actuators showed 91.4 µm (DMC, 200 V p p ) and 224 µm (KM512, 275 V p p ) deflections in response to 1 Hz sinusoidal excitation, and 1.10 mm (DMC, 113 Hz, 200 V p p ) and 1.72 mm (KM512, 114 Hz, 200 V p p ) deflections in resonant operation. It is 55% more quasi-static strain and 470% more resonant strain than in earlier fully inkjet-printed polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) -based actuators, and comparable to similar partially inkjet-printed actuators. This is the first time that inkjet printing of all three layers of a relaxor ferroelectric actuator have been achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025036
Number of pages14
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • actuator
  • inkjet printing
  • electroactive polymer
  • ink formulation
  • piezoelectric
  • ferroelectric


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