Sensing and self-sensing actuation methods for Ionic Polymer–Metal Composite (IPMC): A review

Wan Hasbullah Mohd Isa, Andres Hunt, Hassan Hossein Nia Kani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
169 Downloads (Pure)


Ionic polymer–metal composites (IPMC) are smart material transducers that bend in response to low-voltage stimuli and generate voltage in response to bending. IPMCs are mechanically compliant, simple in construction, and easy to cut into desired shape. This allows the designing of novel sensing and actuation systems, e.g., for soft and bio-inspired robotics. IPMC sensing can be implemented in multiple ways, resulting in significantly different sensing characteristics. This paper will review the methods and research efforts to use IPMCs as deformation sensors. We will address efforts to model the IPMC sensing phenomenon, and implementation and characteristics of different IPMC sensing methods. Proposed sensing methods are divided into active sensing, passive sensing, and self-sensing actuation (SSA), whereas the active sensing methods measure one of IPMC-generated voltage, charge, or current; passive methods measure variations in IPMC impedances, or use it in capacitive sensor element circuit, and SSA methods implement simultaneous sensing and actuation on the same IPMC sample. Frequency ranges for reliable sensing vary among the methods, and no single method has been demonstrated to be effective for sensing in the full spectrum of IPMC actuation capabilities, i.e., from DC to ∼100 Hz. However, this limitation can be overcome by combining several sensing methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3967
Number of pages37
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • IPMC
  • sensing
  • self-sensing
  • transducer
  • smart material
  • ionic polymer
  • electroactive polymer


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