Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite (IPMC) has been well-documented of being a promising functional material in extensive applications. In its most popular and traditional manufacturing technique, roughening is a key process to ensure a satisfying performance. In this paper, based on a lately established multi-physical model, the effect of roughening process on the inner mass transportation and the electro-active output of IPMC were investigated. In the model, the electro-chemical field was monitored by Poisson equation and a properly simplified Nernst-Planck equation set, while the mechanical field was evaluated on the basis of volume strain effect. Furthermore, with Ramo-Shockley theorem, the out-circuit current and accumulated charge on the electrode were bridged with the inner cation distribution. Besides, nominal current and charge density as well as the curvature of the deformation were evaluated to characterize the performance of IPMC. The simulation was implemented by Finite Element Method with Comsol Multi-physics, based on two groups of geometrical models, those with various rough interface and those with different thickness. The results of how the roughening impact influences on the performance of IPMC were discussed progressively in three aspects, steady-state distribution of local potential and mass concentration, current response and charge accumulation, as well as the curvature of deformation. Detailed explanations for the performance improvement resulted from surface roughening were provided from the micro-distribution point of view, which can be further explored for the process optimization of IPMC. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
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